How do Hale's preconceptions influence his interpretation of events? In light of his preconceptions, what are the implications of his eventual change?
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Hale's preconceptions are fundamental in his support of the trials and accusations of witchcraft. Hale believes that there is a devil and commits himself to bringing this force out in the open. His preconception of this clear notion of good and evil enables him to support the trials. It is for this reason that he questions Proctor about him not attending church regularly and not demonstrating the conventional notion of piety. Yet, at the same time, Hale demonstrates a preconception of trust in what he sees as internal goodness. This describes how Hale sees Rebecca Nurse. Hale goes along with the presence of the trials in Salem, and believes, to an extent, that they are a force of good whose end is to punish the forces of malevolence and darkness.
What Hale fails to take into account is that something that he sees as good and honorable can be manipulated for self- interested ends. This becomes clear to Hale when he sees Goody Nurse accused and when he recognizes the manipulation of the court that Abigail and the other girls are able to perpetrate. Hale's initial understanding of evil being external has changed when he realizes that evil can be within human beings and demonstrated through their actions. Abigail is worse than any notion of the devil or Satan. Hale changes at this point, and acknowledges his own role in something fundamentally wrong and unholy. It is to this end that Hale changes, distancing himself from the conventional pursuit of justice through the legal system of Hawthorne, Danforth, and Parris. The ending in which Hale is committed to saving the lives of those accused for both its intrinsic value and to pursue an end that would absolve him of his own role are essential to his conversion. It is for this reason that Hale wants to get Proctor to confess, to save his life, and to spare him from a machinery of death that he, himself, has had a role in perpetuating. It is in this where one sees the implications of his conversion.
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