In Act 4 of The Crucible, what is Reverend Hale's role, and how has he changed?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Act IV of this brilliant play, we see a very different Reverend Hale from the character who we met in Act I who cheerfully uncovered witchery and led people to repentance. He has obviously been altered greatly by the Salem witch trials, and in particular the way that people are punished for telling the truth. He sees how religion is being used negatively to persecute and punish, and is despairing in his attempts to make Danforth see reason. Consider his most powerful speech, which is made in response to Danforth's question as to why he has returned:

Why, it is all simple. I come to do the Devil's work. I come to counsel Christians they should belie themselves. There is blood on my head! Can you not see the blood on my head!!

Hale therefore has moved from being a man of God, determined to detect and uproot any cases of witchery he can find, to being a man who is encouraging Christians to lie so that they can save their lives. His disillusionment and sense of guilt and complicity is clear and obvious.

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