Does Reverend Hale fit the definition of a tragic hero?

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

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I think that it is a tough sell for me to buy Hale as a tragic hero.  I see the tragic hero as one who suffers greatly and understands full well the implications of their actions.  This becomes the virtue by which they suffer.  By the end of the drama, while Hale has broken from the ranks of the Danforths or the Hales, he really has not changed that much.  He still wishes for Proctor to engage in lies.  While the deception might have another motivation, the reality is that Hale has not changed in that he still refuses to accept truth in its most uncomfortable of forms.  Consider another implication here in that Hale might be doing what he is doing only to assuage his own guilt.  He feels personally responsible for what he did and is more concerned with absolving his own sense of hurt and pain as opposed to truly understanding the implications for his own actions.  Either conception reveals Hale to be a complex character who could even be seen as comparatively good in a setting that lacked much of it.  Yet, I don't think that either conception really fits the criteria of seeing Hale as a tragic hero.


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