Advanced English 3, Period 3
Reverend Hale’s Transformation
A crucible is defined as “a place or occasion of severe test or trial” and such a place is illustrated in the novel The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Reverend Hale changes dramatically through the novel from someone who believes entirely in the evil of witchcraft to a person who completely rejects the idea. When Reverend Hale comes to Salem he is strongly convinced by the words of the Bible, and by his own research, that witch hunting is essential and that his work in Salem is to protect the townspeople from the devil. As time goes on, however, he loses faith in the legitimacy of the accusers which leads to a loss of faith in his own infallibility and service to God. Reverend Hale goes through a major character change in the novel as a result of the injustice and falseness he sees in the witch hunts. Shortly after a group of girls are found dancing in the forest, Reverend Hale arrives in Salem Massachusetts to determine whether or not they are witches. He is considered an expert in witchcraft and arrives in Salem “loaded down with half a dozen books” (36), demonstrating his desire to make an educated decision. Reverend Hale thinks of himself as a “young doctor on his first call” (36) and makes an obvious effort to determine if the girls are witches telling them: “No, no. Now let me instruct you. We cannot look to superstition in this. The devil is precise.” ( 45 ) He seems excited and relieved when Tituba, a black slave, confesses to being in league with the devil. When Reverend Hale declares “the devil is out and preying on [Betty] like the flesh of a pure lamb”(47), it is clear that he trusts his own knowledge and the truth of the trial. When Reverend Hale arrives at the Proctors’ house it is clear that he is beginning to falter in his conviction about the legitimacy of the witch trials and the validity of the accusers. He becomes less certain of his decisions and...