All of the above suggests that authorities in Salem are corrupt and unreasonable. They pressurised the victims and twisted and turned what they said into another matter. People like Danforth take advantage of the authority they had. This is because he used his power to accuse the innocent and make their lives a living hell. The good people are helpless and without power so they have no say for example Nurse Rebecca. In the town of Salem authority is a virtue.
The final way in which act 3 can be interpreted as an attack on the severity of the authorities is by Arthur Miller’s personal experience. When Miller wrote this play there was a cold war going on between the U.S.A and U.S.S.R. Arthur Miller himself was on trial and jus like in ‘The Crucible’ he was asked to name names or else. The authorities in 1950’s America pressurised him and twisted and turned whatever he said and the authorities were very similar to Salem. The purpose of writing ‘The Crucible’ was so that Miller can show what happened in the courtroom and convey how the authorities pressurised and questioned the people on trial and also to show what happened during the McCarthyism period.
The first way the extent to which this courtroom scene presents innocent characters risking their lives in order to tell the truth is an attack on the injustice of Salem as well as 1950’s America is conveyed through the feelings and emotions of Arthur Miller’s characters. We see the love and passion of Proctor and Francis for their wives. The pair of them are prepared to risk their lives for their wives. The courage, bravery and determination of the men get the authorities listening and for once take in what they are saying rather then pressurising them and tricking them. The audience at this stage of the scene would have a lot of sympathy for two because they are putting their lives at risk to save someone that they love dearly. The audience would feel sorry for them and most probably hate the authorities!
This again can be interpreted as an attack on elements of society because it shows that the judges were unfair and that innocent people like Francis and Proctor were prepared to put it all on the line for their beloved lives. For example when Giles Corey the husband of Martha Corey presents his case he talks in ‘helpless sobs’ the effect this has on the audience is that he is ever determined to save and get his wife back and he has realised the mistake he has made. This again can be interpreted as an attack on elements of society because the innocent characters are risking their lives in order to tell the truth to the town that it’s the girls that are lying. This shows that the authorities are so cruel, callous and inconsiderate that Proctor and Francis are pleading and crying for the court to only listen to the truth and only the truth.
Secondly Danforths reaction to the plea of Francis Nurse is a blatant shock. He takes the comments made by Francis that the girls are a lie and ‘fraud’ and also the girls are a threat to Danforth. Danforth then asks ‘do you know who I am?’ and then goes onto to state that he has jailed ‘near to four hundred’ and condemned ‘seventy two’ by saying this he is making his presence felt and also is mocking Francis like he doesn’t know who he is. By stating the figures and facts it shows that he is a big man and a man with lots of authority and if he isn’t careful he maybe next. It may also suggest that no Nurse is going to influence his decision because if he does call of the trials out the blue he’ll be a laughing stock and his reputation and his loyalty will be in tatters. Personally I think he’s trying to avoid the embarrassment rather then convicting the people that are guilty.
However Danforth isn’t all harsh and hard because he does listen to Giles when he is speaking. Danforth at this moment is ‘silent’ which shows that he has some respect. This can be interpreted as an attack on elements of society because it shows how corrupt the authorities were and also that they aren’t fair but biased. This maybe because if they are seemed to be judging wrong this could lead to him being stripped of his title ‘Judge’ and again be hated for the trouble he has caused. It shows that the judges like Danforth cared more bout their name in the society rather then finding out the real culprits and that’s the girls.
In act 3 Parris’s role is to agree and go along with the judges decisions and he is also interfering and creating more trouble and havoc for the people on stand. We know this because he’s always cutting in and saying ‘Beware this man’ and ‘this man is mischief.’ This jus proves he is siding with the girls and when he says these lines Proctor is on stand and wants him to be hanged. The shocking thing is that a religious man of his calibre a ‘Reverend’ is siding with the girls and judge but yet a high religious man like him doesn’t see the truth. To me Parris is evil because a person of God is meant to help out people especially in this case but he doesn’t, where as the other reverend Hale is supportive and tries to get both sides of the story to come an conclusion
In act 3 Hale realises that everything is a lie and that the witch trials are not right, and accusations are being made to people that are really innocent and the result is that they are being punished. Reverend Hale goes that ‘there is a prodigious fear of this court.’ By saying this he’s trying to interpret that innocent people in Salem are being hanged. Take for example Giles in act 3. He refuses to name names of the source of information because he knows that if he does grass the source the authorities will immediately go after the source and will be put on trial. This again can be interpreted as an attack on elements of society because it shows that no one could tell the truth and shows how religion can make the authorities stronger.
In act 3 Mary is probably the most disturbed and emotional character in the scene because she is faced with a dilemma that makes her change her decision back due to the pressure that being put on her by John Proctor. Proctor takes Mary to the court to confess that the girls are lying and only pretending. He tells her to tell the truth by saying ‘do that which is good.’ But the two judges Hathorne and Danforth again pressurise Mary and talk her into saying that Proctor had threatened her to say that the girls were lying because of the sudden change in her decision.
But we know that Proctor didn’t. It was Abigail, the leader of the girls put pressure on Mary by ‘imitating’ and copying what she says. From this we can tell that Mary was pressured on telling the truth or either goes with Proctor or the girls and this wasn’t an easy decision. If Mary confessed that Abigail and the girls were lying she wouldn’t be popular with the girls and be hated especially by Abigail. On the other hand Proctor knew exactly what the girls were trying to do and that was lying.