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At this point in the play, Reverend Hale has figured out that Abagail and the other girls have been lying about the presence of witches in Salem. He realizes that the mass hysteria has gotten out of hand. He knows that John Proctor is a good man and loves his wife, Elizabeth. Reverend Hale feels that God will forgive John for lying that he is a witch, and that it is more important that John saves his own life at this point. Unfortunately, John’s pride to not disgrace his name causes him to refuse to sign the contract the judges bring to him in prison. John also doesn’t want to betray the others like Goody Nurse who are also accused of witchcraft. Even though Reverend Hale pleads with Elizabeth to change John’s mind, Elizabeth tells Hale that it is John’s decision and that she understands his reluctance to say he is a witch. John is hanged despite Hale’s appeal to him to confess because John will not shame his name by lying.
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