How does Miller portray Hale's character and how does he change throughout the play in The Crucible?
Hale is humbled. The most signficant change in his character relates to this humbling, as Reverend Hale learns that his over-confidence and pride lead to the deaths of innocent people.
As the play opens, Hale's pride is flattered by Parris and others. Though he tries to be exacting and academic in his approach to the question of witchcraft in Salem, Hale is ultimately swept up by the notion that his intuition is correct and witchcraft is indeed afoot in Salem.
In the face of persuasive opinions offered by John and Elizabeth Proctor, Hale maintains his self-assurance, choosing to refrain from questioning his assumptions and instead watching while Elizabeth is taken to jail.
Hale is finally convinced of fraudulent nature of the witchcraft accusations when Proctor brings Mary Warren to court and then Proctor testifies to his affair with Abigail. At this point, Hale is shocked and dismayed. He realizes what his pride has helped bring into being in these trials. He realizes that he will be responsible if Elizabeth is killed.
Hale's transformation into humility is seen clearly in his demeanor in the final act of the play. Here Hale is seen pleading with Danforth, and pleading with Proctor too, trying to avoid becoming guilty and complicit in Protor's death by hanging.
From pride and self-assurance, Hale falls into desperation and humility.
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