What kind of man is Reverend Hale when he first arrives in Salem and in act four, to what extent is he a changed man?
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Reverend Hale comes to Salem as a religious man, a spiritual leader, with the idea that he is empowered and obligated to investigate the claims of witchcraft and to clear the town of it if he finds it. He is a believer in the Puritan church and its principles.
By Act 4, he suspects the girls stories are false, and that the death warrants he has signed are quite possibly unjust. He sees the Puritan leadership in the Court as either blinded to reality, or unwilling to see the truth given what they have already believed and ruled. He never seems to question his faith in God, but perhaps in the Church by that point. He is conflicted.
Rev. Hale, when he arrives in Salem, is convinced that he must undertake every effort to "drive the devil from Salem." He believes that the allegations of witchcraft are completely true at first, and his actions and words show that he is interested only in proving that Satan himself is loose in the town through the form of witchcraft. Hale, we must remember, is supposed to be an "expert in the demonic arts," and the only person who is believed capable of exorcising demons and evil spirits in the vicinity. By the end, however, his opinion has changed; he sides with John Proctor and is saddened by his decision to hang rather than "sign himself to lies." Hale, by the play's finale, realizes the falsehood and deceipt represented by Abigail and the other girls who have cried witchery upon other members of the town.
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