, Research Paper
In the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller John Hale goes through some very distinct character changes. When Reverend John Hale first arrives in Salem he is quite conceited about his field of work which is the ?demonic arts.? He believes that he is an expert on witchcraft even though he has never condemned someone as a witch. In the first act it is as if Hale came to Salem to prove his proficiency and he just really wants people to respect his authority.
In Act Two Hale is still willing to do all he can to help convict witches in Salem. Hale comes across as very determined to sink the devilish spirits in Salem, even if it means hurting some very nice people. For example he tells Proctor, ?No man may longer doubt the powers of the dark are gathered in monstrous attack upon this village.? (62) I understand this to show that Hale wants to find the witches no matter who they are.
By Act Three Hale is questioning the idea that there are really any witches in Salem because of all the respected colonists that have been accused. He has a hard time judging people he has never known before or that seem very normal when he met them. I think that this is the point when Hale really starts suspecting an underlying reason for all the hysterity and overreaction going on in this colony, possibly Abigail.
I think that during Act Three is when the major changes in Hale?s character occur. He is starting to defend the Proctor?s and Mary Warren by encouraging Danforth and Parris to listen to what Proctor is trying to say. Hale protests that John Proctor, Giles Corey, and Francis Nurse are not trying to overthrow the court, but just end the nonsense that is going to kill their wives. This really shows his belief that the court is corrupt, the people are innocent, and that he is ashamed of what is going on in Salem. In the end of this act Hale quits the court and denounces the proceedings after Danforth decides to have Proctor, Corey, and Nurse arrested.
In Act Four Hale realizes that the lives of innocent people are being cast away, so he comes back to Salem to try convince the accused to confess to witchcraft and save themselves. No one gives in and confesses because they refuse to lie, even to save their own lives. Hale does convince Elizabeth Proctor to plead with her husband John to get him to confess. Hale figures that if Proctor confesses than maybe others will follow his example, but it doesn?t work. The people of Salem are just to proud to tarnish their names with witchcraft.
I see Hale?s change in the end very convincing because he realizes all that the work he had been doing is very wrong and is against God?s will. He can?t live with the thought that he had so much to do with innocent people losing their lives. I think that Hale is really one of the smartest character?s because he sees his mistakes and at least tries to fix them before it is to late, even if it means losing some respect.