Abuse of Power in Doubt, by John Patrick Shanley

1177 Words 5 Pages
Power is earned, not given. There are many different types of power that people can earn. Power becomes a problem when it is not questioned or tested. Therefore, the one with the power would have total control over anything or anyone they wanted, or they would feel that way. People with power feel invincible when it is not questioned. Throughout history it has been proven that this creates a problem. For example, Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal is similar to the scandal with Father Flynn in Doubt. Doubt, by John Patrick Shanley, exemplifies an underlying message that unquestioned faith leads to abuse of power. Specifically, shown in Father Flynn’s reputation, cover up, and resignation, which all correlate to Richard Nixon’s …show more content…
In the election of 1972, Nixon won by over sixty percent of the votes and won all states except Massachusetts against George McGovern (“The History Place…”). This is one of the biggest landslides in U.S. Presidential election history. In January 1973, Richard Nixon’s approval rating was sixty-seven percent, which is relatively high compared to current president Barack Obama’s forty-seven percent and many other Presidents before him (“The History Place…”). Therefore, he had a great reputation and was in the highest possible position, the leader of the free world, just like Father Flynn was in his parish. Richard Nixon also had a very positive relationship with members of the White House. For example, members of the White House were caught breaking in and violating the law to get President Nixon re-elected (“The History Place…”). Abuse of power comes from a high reputation that is unquestioned.
When one’s unquestioned reputation is being attacked one often feels obligated to make a plan to cover up accused actions to save their reputation. When Sister Aloysius first accuses Father Flynn of having an inappropriate relationship with Donald Muller he responds, “Happened? Nothing happened. I had a talk with the boy.” (32). Finally, Father Flynn says he did have some interaction with Donald after denying it for a while, but he still clearly states nothing happened. Father Flynn ends the conversation by saying, “I don’t wish to continue this conversation at all further. And if
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