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Arthur Miller presents numerous individuals who seek power as well as those who are negatively affected by their power plays. He reserves his harshest judgments for those entrusted with upholding the common good who turn their backs on their duty for purposes of private aggrandizement or status. The collective experience in The Crucible consists largely of the Salem community's consent or complicity in carrying out the court's sentences even in the absence of convincing evidence.

Judge Danforth, in particular, stands to benefit individually from successful prosecution and killing of the "witches." He worries when the girls' stories develop holes. As a judge, Danforth understands his role in supporting the law and in discounting any challenges based on emotion, but his desire for power is greater than his respect for justice.

Power over oneself as self-control and over others through manipulation are shown by John and Abigail. Proctor seems to think that denial will become reality through simply insisting in its truth. Because he lost control and gave in to physical desire, his later effort to regain control costs him his life. Abigail seems to live for power, as we see her progressively add to her initial claims and add John and Elizabeth's names to the accused.

Regarding collective power, the people of Salem seem slow to recognize that they have the power to stop the witch hunt as well as continue it. Seeing evil as something external rather than a personal quality, they not only accept its presence among their people but also contribute to its gains by turning each other in to the authorities.

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