In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible the character Mr Hale undergoes some significant

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In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, the character Mr. Hale undergoes some significant development. This lesson provides an overview of his character and the changes he goes through.A Sensible ManHave you ever been considered an expert in something? Did you notice yourself being tempted to let the attention go to your head? Reverend John Hale certainly did.Mr. Hale is mentioned in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible shortly after the play opens. Reverend Parris sends for him when they begin to suspect witchcraft might be afoot in the town. It is reported that Mr. Hale previously investigated witchcraft in his own parish and found the woman in question to be ‘a mere pest’ instead of a witch. This gives some of the other characters in the play some hope that he will be reasonable. John Proctor says to him, ‘I’ve heard you to be a sensible man, Mr. Hale. I hope you’ll leave some of it in Salem.’Tainted by PrideDespite Mr. Hale’s reputation of good sense, he is perhaps tainted by pride. He is called upon as an expert in his field, and we are told ‘he felt the pride of the specialist whose unique knowledge has at last been publicly called for.’ When Reverend Parris remarks that Mr. Hale’s books are heavy, Mr. Hale rejoins with ‘They must be; they are weighted with authority.’Later, while he is examining the ill girl Betty, Mr. Hale encourages those assembled in saying of the Devil, ‘Have no fear now–we shall find him out if he has come among us, and I mean to crush him utterly if he has shown his face!’ Is it possible that the poison of pride could undo all Mr. Hale’s good sense?Not Off to a Good StartSadly, Mr. Hale’s first actions in Salem do belie the taint of pride. When Abigail accuses Tituba (Reverend Parris’s servant) of witchcraft, Mr. Hail at once regards the accusation as truth. Mr. Hale tells Tituba if she will confess to witchcraft, she will be forgiven and protected. He even urges her to accuse other people: ‘When the Devil comes to you does he ever come–with another person? Perhaps another person in the village?’ ‘Objection!’ the audience might wish to cry, ‘leading the witness!’ Mr. Hale is practically putting words in her mouth!At this point, Mr. Hale seems a bit high on his own influence. No trace of his reputed good sense is visible. His pride flourishes when he tells Tituba ‘the Devil can never overcome a minister.’ Furthermore, after extracting some names from Tituba (under duress and heavy suggestion), the marshal is called for to arrest the accused.Sobriety Creeps InIn the second act of the play, Mr. Hale seems to be returning somewhat to the senses he is reported to have. He shows up at the home of John and Elizabeth Proctor after Elizabeth Proctor was ‘somewhat mentioned’ in court. Instead of crying out as he did before that all the accused should be arrested immediately and clapped in irons, he decides it is more prudent to perform some investigation. Novel idea. He tells the Proctors, ‘I am a stranger here…I find it hard to draw a clear opinion of them that come accused before the court.’ This is encouraging! Perhaps he will become even more sensible later on?Hale in CourtSadly, it seems returning to one’s senses is a difficult thing. Even after John Proctor argues that of course people, given the choice between being hanged and confessing to witchcraft, are likely to confess even if they are not guilty–Mr. Hale doesn’t admit his agreement right away. The stage direction tells us ‘It is his own suspicion, but he resists it.’ Why would he resist?Perhaps because of his own pride? Mr. Hale clings to the idea that justice exists in this circumstance, abandoning sense once again to encourage the Proctors and the others accused to ‘let you rest upon the justice of the court.’ For a court which condemns good citizens to death based on accusations from a bunch of children, it is unlikely any will find ‘rest’ in hoping for justice there.Only after 72 death warrants stack up and some executions have been performed already does Mr. Hale finally return to his senses. In Act 3, when Abigail Williams, the ring leader of the accusers, is accused herself of committing adultery with John Proctor Mr. Hale seems at last to understand that Abigail is not what she has made people believe she is. ‘I denounce these proceedings,’ Mr. Hale declares at last, ‘I quit this court!’ If only his sense were contagious!Mr. Hale’s RemorseAfter leaving the court, Mr. Hale reappears in Act 4 of the play. Here, he is seen to be meeting with prisoners in an effort to get them to confess to witchcraft to avoid hanging. ‘There is blood on my head!’ he cries out in despair. He knows he is asking these people to lie, but his signature is on their death warrants and he doesn’t want their blood on his conscience. Mr. Hale expresses his remorse to Elizabeth Hale when he says, ‘what I touched with my bright confidence, it died; and where I turned the eye of my great faith, blood flowed up.’ If only he had seen this sooner.Lesson SummaryReverend John Hale arrives in Salem full of confidence and at least a little pride. Despite his reputation of good sense (having labelled a woman accused of witchcraft as merely a pest), he succumbs to the fervor of those crying witchcraft on the innocent. He encourages Tituba to name names so she herself will be saved.In the second act of the play, we see Mr. Hale struggle against a return to his senses. Instead of immediately arresting the Proctors, he performs an investigation instead.In the third act, he at last denounces the court when Abigail and Proctor admit their relationship, but much damage has been done. In the final act we see him buried in remorse, counseling people to lie just to save their lives. His faith and his confidence are damaged. To unlock this lesson you must be a Member. Create your accountRegister to view this lessonAre you a student or a teacher? You are viewing lesson 5 in chapter 4 of the course:The Crucible Study Guide7 chapters | 68 lessons | 2 flashcard setsCh 1. The Crucible: Author & Historical…Ch 2. The Crucible Themes &…Ch 3. Literary Devices in The…Ch 4. The Crucible CharactersMain Characters in The Crucible6:21John Proctor: Character Traits & Analysis8:18Abigail Williams in The Crucible6:05Elizabeth Proctor: Character Traits & Analysis4:36Reverend John Hale in The Crucible4:45Next LessonReverend Parris in The CrucibleReverend Parris in The CrucibleRebecca Nurse in The CrucibleFrancis Nurse in The CrucibleJudge Danforth in The CrucibleGiles Corey in The CrucibleThomas Putnam in The Crucible5:00Ann Putnam in The Crucible5:00Ruth Putnam in The Crucible5:31