“I came to do the Devil’s work” is the ironic and sad truth that Reverend John Hale
realizes in Arthur Miller’s dramatic play, The Crucible. One can see that Hale’s
personality changes enormously throughout the play. These changes are illustrated by
Hale’s many statements in the play. The statements in the beginning of the play establish
Hale’s firm beliefs and toward the end of the play his disgust with the outcome of the
Hale is a very intriguing person with many character traits. “They must be, they
are weighted with authority.” (p. 36) This shows that he is sure of his actions and himself.
Another thing that he is sure of is witchcraft. This is shown when he states, “The Devil is
precise; the marks of his presence are as definite as stone.” (p.38) and, “Are you gathering
souls for the Devil?”(p. 44). One of Hale’s character flaws is that he judges by
appearances. “You look as such a good soul should.” (p. 37) and, “A claim so weighty
cannot be argued by a farmer.” (p. 99) He claims to be the right-hand man of the Lord,
“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.” When in reality, his actions and beliefs end with
tragic results. Hale believes so strongly in his religion that he is willing to use unjust
procedures to extract the information he wants. He does this when questioning Tituba
and John Proctor. “When the Devil comes to you, does he come with another person?
Perhaps another person in the village?” (p. 45) and “God put you in his hands to help
cleanse this village.” (p. 46) Hale uses these persuading techniques and the authority of
the church to find and punish the “enemies” of the church.
In the second act, the audience can actually make a distinction between the morally
weak Reverend Parris and Reverend Hale. When Hale goes to the Proctor’s house and
hears about the accusations, he states, “if Rebecca Nurse be tainted, then nothing’s left to
stop the whole green world from burning.” (p. 80) Yet, Hale is so religious that he has
difficulty denying the charges. He even states, “until an hour before the Devil fell, God
thought him beautiful in heaven.” (p. 68) Hale has a mental conflict here: His personal
feelings tell him that a person such as Rebecca couldn’t be a witch but his training has
taught him that Rebecca could be possessed by the Devil.