In the play The Crucible, Arthur Miller applied the word "crucible" as a severe test or trial. Indeed, the characters of the play all lived through an immense ordeal. The trials and the executions were traumatic, and many characters were affected by what had happened. Many Salem citizens were in favor of the courts at first; later, however, began to despise the court. One of these characters was Reverend Hale of Beverly. As Hale came into Salem, his goal was to preserve goodness. He knew that his work was admired and respected by the common people and he was proud of this. He was confident that he would do his duty in Salem. Yet the more time Hale spent there, the more he changed his opinion on the situation. As the story progressed, Hale’s attitude changed from confidence to concern to outrage, and finally, to guilt. When Hale came to Salem, "to ascertain witchcraft, he felt the pride of the specialist whose unique knowledge has … been publicly called for"(33). He thought of his task as just and righteous. Hale believed that "the Devil is precise; the marks of his presence are definite as stone…"(38), and that identifying whether the Devil was living in Salem would not be difficult. However, as the play progressed, he began to question whether he was doing his job or not over the course of the trials. He decided to visit the homes of the people mentioned, so that he could "draw a clear opinion of them"(63) and be able to pass judgment on them properly in court. As he made the visits, his ignorance was cleared away and he saw that the courts were not entirely correct. He grew even more concerned when he was notified that Rebecca Nurse, a woman he had a good opinion about, had been charged with murder. Although Hale becomes "deeply troubled"(71), he still has faith in the courts. This is evident when he says, "Believe me, Mr. Nurse, if Rebecca Nurse be tainted, then nothing’s left to stop the whole green world from burning. Let you rest upon the justice...
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