The Crucible, by Arthur Miller Essay examples

The Crucible, by Arthur Miller Essay examples

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When reading a classic novel like that of Arthur Miller, we oftentimes encounter the typical dynamic character; the lovable cocoon experiencing a most dramatic metamorphosis right before the reader’s eyes. In The Crucible, the reader is initially introduced to a reserved, confident, and scholarly Reverend Hale, who arrives in the secluded, gloomy town of Salem to investigate the mysterious behavior of the local priest’s daughter; Betty Proctor . Throughout the novel, Miller reveals Hale’s transformation from within his strict cocoon of formal studies and formulaic outlook on witchcraft diagnostics and religion to a jaded, less-than-sure of himself scholar, broken by the raw injustice and shameless hypocrisy which he witnesses in Salem. By the end of the novel, Miller’s butterfly thrives vicariously through Hale’s now brazenly fair, honest, and rational character. However, this transformation does not come about without a moment’s faltering on Hale’s part.
In the start of the reader’s acquaintance with Reverend Hale, he is portrayed as a “…nearly forty…tight-skinned, eager-eyed intellectual,”—a formal and adamant individual (---). The seemingly perfect savior, Hale yet possesses an unspeakable vice; idealism. He graces the community eager to seek and eradicate the source Betty of her ‘satanic’ chokehold, but fails to see the foreboding clouds that churn a sinister storm over Salem as a whole, as the town had earlier been taken into the custody of a select few’s suspicion, vengeance, and hysteria. Ignorant to this fact and deeply certain of his cause, Hale diligently works at his case as a myriad of other witchcraft cases pour into the higher courts of Salem. He claims he will rid Betty of the unholy forces working within her even ...


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Hale eventually completely loses faith in the courts, citizens and self-proclaimed piety of Salem and its citizens. In a last attempt to salvage Proctor’s life, Hale begs of Proctor’s wife to “prevail upon [her] husband to [falsely] confess,” simply to dissuade his accusers from asserting the death penalty upon him (81). Hale beings now to doubt his own faith, questioning how his Puritanism; so perfect, just, and reasonable, could allow such malicious chaos and outright evil to break loose and prey upon the poor innocents like the late John Proctor.
Despite the drastic change in Reverend Hale’s perspective on the Salem witchcraft trials’ credibility, one thing remains static in his character—good intentions. Throughout the novel, his resolute objectiveness and purity in motives arguably make Reverend Hale the most admirable character in Miller’s masterpiece.

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