Justice And The Crucible Essay, Research Paper
Justice in the Crucible
Clarence Darrow once said, “There is no such thing as justice–in or out of court.” While a reference towards modern forms of law, this quotation is also applicable to The Crucible. People s rights are trampled both in the book and in real life. Defendants in every case have rights, but they become moot. Everyone decides what they think and will put forth their own justice, despite what the facts or logic may be. The presence of the rights of the accused and the lack of their enforcement are ideas that hold true not only in the book, but in the present day.
In modern courts, defendants have certain definite rights. Examples of such are the right to an unbiased jury, the right to an attorney, and the right not to incriminate one s self. In reading The Crucible, one becomes appalled at how these rights are never even acknowledged. Not only are they not acknowledged, but the exact opposite is a normal expectation by the characters in the book! The jury is made up of the very people accusing the people of witchcraft. Mr. Hale is denied a lawyer because the Judge Danforth does not believe there is anything more that can be brought to light on the situation. The accused are basically given two terrible choices; they may either sign papers incriminating themselves and spend the rest of their life in a living hell, or be hanged. Is this justice? No one in their right mind can bring themselves to even compare it to justice.
While the rights of the characters in The Crucible are never even vocalized, our current justice system is supposedly based on the aforesaid rights. We all know what our basic rights are, and seemingly take them for granted. But, even though the government tries to enforce these rights, the media nullifies them. Because of the way news of court hearings is relayed to us, our nation as a social whole has taken on an attitude of guilty until proven innocent. Even then, if found innocent, most people will still look at the party as guilty. Punishment is still inflicted. Society makes the accused party into a pariah. Certainly, the accused have rights in the modern United States, but are those rights are made pointless. Take a look at O.J. Simpson and his murder trial or the Clintons and the Whitewater trial.
Even in everyday life, there are congruencies between the so-called justice in the book and what we as observers see as social justices. Many times, we like to jump to the conclusion that someone is a bad person because of one thing they do or some way they dress. When a girl asserts herself, for instance, she is often looked at as bullheaded, outspoken, and stubborn. She is called names that can t be repeated in a high school English paper. That pigeonhole sticks with her until she leaves. It s as if she had signed the papers admitting to witchcraft and therefore, she is fair game to punish as anyone sees fit. As another example, look at the boy who decides to dress differently because he doesn t like the current way boys are supposed to dress. He might decide to wear animal prints, and because of this, everyone pegs him as a homosexual. No judge nor jury besides his accusers, it doesn t matter how he acts or how much he vehemently denies it. He s obviously gay in their eyes, and therefore he is subject to their wrath. We may not realize it, but the same outrageous lack of justice we were appalled at in The Crucible is a daily norm we practice.
So do the accused have rights? Yes, they do. The real question, however, is whether we actually recognize them. Being able to recite those rights is not putting them into practice. Rather, we should look at our reactions to The Crucible and notice our lack of reaction to the same acts in our world. Whether it be the idea of guilty until proven innocent or the way we involuntarily jump to conclusions, we don t hold ourselves up to the same morals as we do others. The true path to justice is through looking at situations from every angle and listening to true logic. If we could just do that, there might just be justice- both in and out of court.