How does a trial change a religious priest into a man removed from the power structure of a small town? The Crucible sees Reverend Hale sent to Salem in order to combat an alleged outbreak witchcraft. The play opens with Hale, a confident man who just cured a witchcraft epidemic in Beverly. The play continues and he is forced to leave the court system due to the inequalities he encounters. Reverend Hale, although a confident man when he arrives in Salem, begins to lose his religious convictions as he sees the injustices of the Salem theocracy.

Reverend Hale is arrogant about his ability, when he arrives in Salem. Reverend Hale arrived in Salem after he had recently treated a witchcraft case in Beverly. This success “…never raised an eyebrow about Lucifer’s many-faced lieutenants. Reverend Hale has become overconfident in religious beliefs as a result of his confidence in the existence or devil. Reverend Parris of Salem is Hale’s first encounter. Hale has a stack filled with books. Hale replied, “They must” (36). Reverend Hale’s books are both literal and figuratively heavy. Literally, they are heavy and rich with information about witches. Figuratively, they are “weighted as authority” in that they can punish anyone who is believed to be a witch. A variety of answers are offered: “I was with Goody Hawkins!”, “I was with Goody Bibber”, “I was with Goody Booth” (48). Hale shouts joyously, “Glory God!” They are free, it is broken!” (48). Hale now believes all the girls are telling him the truth. Hale digs deeper into Salem’s case to uncover the lies. Reverend Hale finds himself separating from his core beliefs, as Abigail Williams spins her web. Hale is compelled to investigate Elizabeth Proctor’s witchcraft accusation in court when Abigail makes it clear that Elizabeth Proctor is being accused of witchcraft. To find evidence of witchcraft, he orders John to recite The Ten Commandments. This is a man who disobeys Reverend Parris’ religious practices. Elizabeth responds when John fails to pronounce all ten of the commandments by saying, “delicately”: “Altery, John.” (67). Reverend Hale discovers that Elizabeth is a holy woman, and does not believe in witchcraft. Reverend Hale is suspicious of Elizabeth’s apparent innocence. In fact, Abigail lies about Elizabeth to fuel Hale’s doubtfulness of the court.

Hale’s religious beliefs are ruined when the court starts executing the witches accused if they don’t confess. John confesses to his affair in court, revealing the injustice. Elizabeth answers the question of whether John ever had an affair. Elizabeth’s lies are heard by the judges and she is sentenced to death. Hale intercedes and states that “I may not shut my mind to it any more-private vengeance works through this testimony!” (114). Hale states, “I may shut my conscience to it no more-private vengeance is working through this testimony!” (114). “I denounce the proceedings and I am leaving this court!” (120). Act IV shows Hale feeling guilty. “There is blood everywhere!” Can you see the blood on my forehead !!”(131? He starts to tell the accused lies to save his life.

After discovering the truth of the Salem Theocracy’s injustice, Hale breaks away from it with great determination. The play shows Reverend Hale transform from being a strict minister into a man who is deeply opposed to the Salem proceedings. Hale believes it is his fault that so few people have died during his watch, which leads to him being at the end Miller’s play. Classic dramas have a tendency to make such regrets. Antigone is an example of this. King Creon, who enforces unfair laws, refuses to bury Antigone’s father, a war hero. His hubris causes the death and removal of his Kingship. Many more people would have died if Hale had not been so observant as to avoid uncovering the court’s injustices. Miller says that power is important because it allows people to make right decisions and has the ability to influence others.


  • owenbarrett

    I'm Owen Barrett, a 31-year-old educational blogger and traveler. I enjoy writing about the places I've visited and sharing educational content about travel and culture. When I'm not writing or traveling, I like spending time with my family and friends.