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The Crucible

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Lt. Governor Danforth was most responsible for the injustices of the witch trials

because Danforth Could not comprehend John Proctor's moral reasoning. The most

important similarity between the two is that both men are looking for the truth in the

witch trials. The two are morally different in that Danforth is staunchly at the fourth

stage of moral development, law and order, while Proctor transitions from stage four to

stage five.

The most prominent similarity of these two characters is that both of them are

searching for the truth behind the witch trials. Both characters have their own method,

and as a result the two have different findings. Danforth though that the truth would

reveal itself, as his explanation on page 100 shows just how. From that explanation, one

can tell he expects the victums to reveal the witches, which happens, but the only

evidence required to convict somebody was "spectral evidence". One can sum up spectral

evidence as a "my word against yours" case. And since the accused are witches, one

would agree with the accuser if the accused is denying it, which the accused would do

since the accused is telling the truth, while the accuser can be lying and there is no way to

confirm that they are lying. John Proctor planned to find the truth by revealing the girls

for the pretenders that they are. It was what he was trying to accomplish throughout all of

act three. Even when Danforth guaranteed his wife's life would be spared, for another

year, he admitted that he had a "larger purpose", as Danforth replied to Proctor. Even

though the two are similarly

looking for the truth, their different methods lead to

different stages of moral development.

The most important differences between the two characters drastically contrasting

stages of moral development is that Lt. Governor Danforth is unmoving at stage four,

while Proctor can see through the girl's lies and the need to do what is right, regardless of

what the law determines to be right or wrong. One can tell that Lt. Governor Danforth is

at stage four and there to stay from his decision to not postpone the hangings, even

though it could cause an uproar in Salem just as it did in Andover. Proctor is seen at stage

four until he admits to "working for a larger purpose". One can also make the case that he

does not reach stage five there, but later on when he admits adultery. The last piece, and

possibly the most crucial, is that according to Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development, a

person at a lower stage than somebody at a higher stage cannot understand the person at

the higher stage. This is most obviously seen when Proctor spends a great deal of act

three trying to reason with Danforth, but to no avail. Danforth holds his ground and does

not progress to stage five to see the truth that the girls are indeed lying. This leads to why




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"The Crucible." 03, 2011. Accessed 03, 2011.