By this point in the play, Hale has accepted that the court proceedings are a travesty and that innocent people have been accused and are in danger of execution. Given John Proctor's standing in the community (which is controversial, but widely known and respected), Hale also understands that, given Proctor's previous denunciation of the accusations and testimony, having Proctor confess will demonstrate to the other justices a willingness to "play the game" and might put an end to the circus. In a way Proctor is the only one of the accused who could have this impact, because his disdain for the superstitious witchcraft beliefs is already well known, and the officials of the court are savvy enough to understand that a good deal of the girls' testinomy has consisted of playacting. Hale's change of heart has to do with wanting to justify his own actions and to somehow compensate for them by trying to save Proctor's life. He may also think that Proctor will remember this favor and look favorably on him when the inevitable fallout from the trials occurs.