The Crucible by Arthur Miller is an allegory written about the Salem witch trials that took place in Salem, Massachusetts during 1692 and 1693. The play includes a number of characters, both those who fully conform to the trials and their consequences, and those who do not conform and decide to fight it. Naturally, all stories have characters that are doubtful of which side to pick. They play along with it, not wanting to take a stand, but in their minds they are not entirely sure whether or not what they’re doing is correct. The best example of this outward conformity and inward questioning is Reverend John Hale, one of The Crucible’s principle characters, a member of the religious court that investigates accusations of witchcraft and tries the accused.
However, Hale is not like this in the beginning. In fact, he is the reason the witch-hunts are started in Salem. In the beginning of the play, Hale is called to Salem to determine whether or not witchcraft is in the works. He conforms to the widespread thinking in the town, and seeks to root out witches. He concludes that Tituba is controlling the girls’ souls, essentially leading the girls to reveal various people they saw convening with the devil while they were under the control of Tituba, starting with Abigail of course. Hale, blindly and unquestioningly imitates the rest of the town and trusts and believes the girls. In fact, he leads the way, resulting in fourteen arrests. He is completely unphased by this, and wholly believes that they are all witches and that by arresting them he is doing God’s work.
In Act II, Hale, in his true moral values that do not change throughout the course of the play, goes knocking around to each house, questioning the r...
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...t realized. He discovered that Hale, in fact, did not believe what he was saying about the court. This aided Proctor in doing what he knew was right. It certainly wasn’t the main factor in Proctor’s quest for the defeat of the courts, but it definitely contributed to his reasoning. Hale’s tensions also made Parris, Danforth, and the rest of the people down at the old courthouse very nervous, which made them further advance the witch-hunts even more, urging the girls for more accusations.
Hale’s radical transformation takes place throughout the play in three stages and throughout the play contributes greatly. He is the example by which the townsfolk follow; though they are following him, they do eventually take his stance on the trials. His outward conformity and inward questioning are quintessential examples of what every story needs: the unsure character.
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