Discuss how Reverend Hale embodies the word "justice."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Like so much in Miller's work, this is complex.  I think that there are some attitudes Hale shows that represents the pursuit of justice.  Consider that the first time Hale is seen in the drama, he is carrying large texts.  This brings to light that the pursuit of justice and what it means to embody justice has to include some notion of being a lifelong learner, committed to texts that speak of justice.  At the same time, Hale demonstrates an initial faith in the process and the procedural issues connected with what he presumes to be due process.  When Elizabeth is accused, Hale speaks to both Proctor and his accused wife and explains that all will be well when the facts are brought out in the court.  At the same time, there is a faith in the process when Hale speaks to Tituba, seeking a confession from her.  In both of these instances, Hale's belief in the system that enables justice to be recognized is something that shows him to be committed to that end.

I do believe that Hale's inability to see the larger issues at hand in Act IV probably take away from my perception that he embodies justice.  The concept of "justice" is all encompassing, recognizing the multiple polarities that are at stake in the process and seeking to integrate as many voices into this calculus as possible. Hale does not see that lying to save a life for a cause that is being driven by personalized agendas is subverting the pursuit for justice.  Hale does not see that Proctor standing up for his "name" is more closely aligned with what justice means than trying to coax confessions from individuals who are either looking to make a deal, seeking salvation, or lack the understanding to know what is happening.  I would say that this takes away from my belief that Hale embodies what it means to be representative of "justice."

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