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Why does Reverend Hale return to Salem in Act 4 of The Crucible?

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silvlongitude | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 15, 2007 at 4:07 PM via web

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Why does Reverend Hale return to Salem in Act 4 of The Crucible?

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bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted May 16, 2007 at 1:00 AM (Answer #1)

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I assume you mean his return in Act IV. He came back to try and get the people who are about to be hanged to confess in order to save their lives. He tries to get Danforth to postpone the hangings as well. Hale now knows the trials were lies started by teenage girls who got caught doing something wrong. He is mostly concerned for Rebecca Nurse and John Proctor who are the first of the town's upstanding citizens to be hanged. He wants them to confess so they won't hang. He's trying to save their lives.

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mlsldy3 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted November 20, 2014 at 3:26 PM (Answer #2)

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Danforth is visibly upset when he learns that Rev. Hale has returned to Salem. He says he doesn't have the right to be here. He demands to know why he is back in Salem.

Rev. Hale returns to Salem to try and save as many of the accused as possible. He is really concerned for Rebecca Nurse. She has been locked up for three months and hasn't spoken a word in this time. Rev. Hale is with her, trying to get her to confess to witchcraft and find salvation. He is also there praying for all of the accused. The sun is getting ready to rise, and Rev. Hale tells Danforth, that he needs more time. Danforth refuses to give him anymore time. Danforth is adamant that the executions go as planned. 

"Now hear me, and beguile yourselves no more. I will not receive a single plea for pardon or postponement. Them that will not confess will hang. Twelve are already executed; the names of these seven are given out, and the village expects to see them die this morning. Postponement now speaks a floundering on my part; reprieve or pardon must cast a doubt upon the guilt of them that died till now. While I speak God's law, I will not crack its voice with whimpering. If retaliation is your fear, know this-I should hang ten thousand that dared to rise against the law, and an ocean of salt tears could not melt the resolution of the statues. Now draw yourselves up like men and help me, as you are bound by Heaven to do. Have you spoken with them all, Mr. Hale?" 

This quote by Danforth, shows that no matter what he is going on with the execution. It doesn't matter that these people are innocent, Danforth only cares about how it would look on him if he allowed the people to go free.

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