Character Development (Rev. Hale) In The Crucible! Essay, Research Paper
Hale arrives in Salem he acts as a confident, naive expert on witches, and unknowinglyencourages the girls to lie by putting words into their mouths. Near the end when the truthhas been exposed, Hale with so much blood on his head pleas : I come to do the Devil swork. I come to counsel Christians they should belie themselves. There is blood on myhead! Can you not see the blood on my head! (Miller,131). For Reverend Hale the witchhunt in Salem is the scene of a moral journey as he eventually makes a complete turn inthoughts as he is forced to see certain realities.At the start of Reverend Hale s metamorphosis he is sure of himself and of his belief, inwitches, that he even inadvertently eases their lying. When Hale arrives with half a dozenbooks at Parris house he is described as, Coming into Salem now, Reverend Haleconceives himself as much as a young doctor on his first call. His painfully acquiredarmory of symptoms, catchwords, and diagnostic procedures are now to be put to use atlast (36). Hale completely believes in his work, and he thinks that he is going to be doingsome legitimate work. At this point when he meets Parris and the girls who have been bewitched he encourages them to talk about their being bewitched, and puts some wordsinto their mouths, but he only does this because he really believes in witches, and believesthe girls stories. This back fires however, and helps the girls with their lies. Soon after the trials begin Hale begins to have doubts in the girls. After a few days ofcourt Hale visits several households without the courts authority, and when he arrives atProctor s house he is said to be : different now-drawn a little, and there is a quality ofdifference even of guilt about his manner now (62). Hale has seen respectable peoplebeing charged, and this has flickered a doubt in his mind. At the end of the talks Proctorstates : And why not, if they must hang for denying it? There are them that will swear toanything before they ll hang ; have you never thought of that? (69). Hale knows thatpeople will confess to anything to avoid being hanged, and he is deeply troubled when helearns of Abigail s motifs for revenge. Respected people have told Hale that the trials arenon-sense. He has tried to find holes in these people s reasoning, so he can be reassured hehasn t made a big mistake in his aiding of the conviction of these people, but theirreasoning is completely logical. Hale becomes more aware of the truth near the end of ActII, when Giles Corey and Francis Nurse report that their wives have been taken away.Reverend Hale is surprised, but disturbed by the news because he thought of Rebecca assurely being innocent when he met her. He says that, if Rebecca Nurse be tainted, thennothing s left to stop the whole greenworld from burning (71). Hale then tries to explainher arrest by saying (in great pain) : Man remember, until an hour before the Devil fell,
God thought him beautiful in Heaven (71). At this point Hale hopes the trials arelegitimate, and tries to account for unusual happenings, but things just do not add up. Thenail is put in the coffin in terms of Hale realizing the truth when Mary Warren appears atthe court to testify against Abigail and the other girls who are making up stories. AfterMary s testimony, and Proctor s eventual confession of lechery, Hale, who has watchedthe proceedings with increasing frustration, finally must listen to his conscience, and hequits the court. Here is the passage where Hale finally comes to his senses and quits thecourt, after proctor has been charged with witchery. Danforth : Marshal ! take him andCorey with him to the jail! Hale, starting across to the door :I denounce theseproceedings! Proctor : You are pulling Heaven down and raising up a whore! Hale : Idenounce these proceedings, I quit this court! He slams the door to the outside behindhim. Danforth, calling to him in a fury : Mr. Hale! Mr. Hale! (119-120)At this point thetruth is evident. Hale cannot deny his previous errors of judgment anymore. The reader isaware of Hale s 180 degree turn of ideas at the end of the play when Hale, is pleading withthe prisoners, who will be hung, to confess because he has so much blood on his head. Infact because of Proctor initial fastidious actions, the whole trials have resulted. I agreewith Gerald Weales on this point. He states : There is such a character in the play-theReverend John Hale, the witch expert, who breaks under the strain of the trials-and onecan make a good case for Hale as the protagonist of The Crucible (Weales,343). Halemay have acted as the protagonist, but his moral journey is not only interesting, but it alsoemphasizes the fact that no witchery is involved in this town. As he breaks under the strainof the trials, as Mr. Gerald Weales stated, Hale s character changes every time he seesanother reality. These realities include the fact that respected people are being put away,or the fact that Abigail may be using the court for revenge, or the fact that anyone wouldadmit to witchery rather than being hung. Every time Hale sees one of these realities hisoriginal surety lessens until he must consider the fact that the whole thing may be a hoax,and finally when he realizes the truth it is too late to do anything about it. Hale s characteris still good. He is not like Danforth or Hawthorne who see the truth but do not want tobe juste to save their reputations. Hale isn t afraid of admitting that the deaths will be hisfault. He knows he made a mistake and tries to straighten things out because he feelsguilty. Hale s moral journey also helps put in context the fact that the judges opinionswere unchangeable even with a witch expert to argue them, and also helps emphasize thefact that it was so evident that these people were innocent that even Hale who was so sureof himself, had a complete change of ideas.