How Miller Uses Reverend Hale in The Crucible

4646 Words19 Pages
How Miller Uses Reverend Hale in The Crucible Arthur Miller describes Reverend Hale as nearing forty, a tight-skinned, eager-eyed intellectual. An intellectual is usually thought of as someone with his head in the clouds, who spends so much time thinking great thoughts that he's inept in the real world of human emotions. There is some truth in this image of John Hale. He knows a lot about witchcraft; but he knows almost nothing about the people of Salem or the contention that is wracking the town. How pompous and arrogant he must sound when he says, “Have no fear now--we shall find [the Devil] out if he has come among us, and I mean to crush him utterly if he has shown his face!” And yet he has every reason to be confident. To Hale, demonology is an exact science, for he has spent his whole life in the study of it. “We cannot look to superstition in this. The Devil is precise.” But he is not just a bookworm, he is a minister of God. His goal is light, goodness and its preservation, and he is excited by being called upon to face what may be a bloody fight with the Fiend himself. All his years of preparation may now finally be put to the test. He fails, and the evil that follows his first appearance totally overwhelms him. Is the fault in his character? Is he not as smart as he thinks he is? Is he a fool, whose meddling lit the fuse to the bomb that blew up the town? Much of the play supports this answer. What looks like success at the end of Act I soon carries Hale out of his depth, and every time he appears after that he is less sure of himself. At the end of the play he has been completely crushed: he, a minister of the light, has come to do the Devil's work. “I come to counsel Christians they should be... ... middle of paper ... ...ocence. In October 1692 someone accused his wife of witchcraft and where Hale had been rather forward in the prosecution of the supposed witches he now came to believe that spectral evidence was not enough to convict on. He then began to argue against the trials. The effects of Hale’s character and action helped progressed the play and spark off the witch trials. By his arrogance in the beginning of Act 1 where “he feels the pride of the specialists whose unique knowledge has at last been publicly called for. This also goes to show that Hale has one of the tragic hero’s flaws, which is arrogance. Hale does try to redeem himself by changing his view about witchcraft. Hale tried to save John Proctor’s life giving him advice and reasoning him, but to avail. Proctor was hung. Hale became the audience’s voice in the end saying the witch trials were wrong.
Open Document