The Reverend Hale enters The Crucible in act 1 with the assurance of an expert who has been invited because of his specialist knowledge. His books, he says, are heavy because they are "weighted with authority," and he is given to making weighty pronouncements, including one so absurd that Miller in the stage directions expresses surprise that audiences do not laugh at it:
Now let me instruct you. We cannot look to superstition in this. The Devil is precise
When Hale visits the Proctors in act 2, he admits that he comes "without the court's authority," but he seems to regard his own authority as a minister and an expert on witchcraft as sufficient for him to question John and Elizabeth and ascertain whether they are good Christians or not. By the end of the act, however, his certainty is badly shaken when Elizabeth is arrested. Proctor calls him a coward and a "broken minister" and compares him to Pontius Pilate, and Hale is unable to respond, thrown into confusion by the unjust and...
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