Reverend Hale is portrayed as a hypocritical man in of Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible. Despite his moral beliefs, Hale decided to bend to the social feelings in Salem in order to gain status. As the community’s accepted expert witness on witchcraft, he contributed to the condemnation of several villagers. Fortunately, Hale eventually realized the error of his ways and took steps to remedy what he had done.
Upon his arrival in Salem, Hale almost immediately became one of the most important people in the village; people hung on his every word. The people of Salem believed that he was an expert on witchcraft. To retain his newfound social status he desperately tried to please them with his findings. Shortly after arriving in Salem he heard Abigail and the other’s story about why their friend, Betty Parris, would not wake up. During the girls’ elaborate story they began to shout out accusations of witchcraft towards other people in the community. Despite an inkling that they were lying and any tangible evidence, Hale decided to side with the girls. He decided that he was willing to go against his moral beliefs in order to enjoy this sense of celebrity for a while longer.
Hale’s social convictions slowly began to die away after witnessing the arrest of some of the accused, especially the arrest of Elizabeth Proctor. Hale did not begin to verbalize his moral convictions until he saw how desperately John Proctor was fighting to get Elizabeth, his wife, acquitted. The reverend realized how his actions had affected the people of the community more than the people who were charged. He also became acutely aware of how his positions affected the families of the accused. Eventually, he became unable to “shut (his) conscience to it (any)more” (974, Act 3). John Proctor’s actions finally pushed Reverend Hale off his pompous ledge and back to his sense of morality that he had when he arrived in Salem.
As his moral conscience seized control his...
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