How does the reader know that the religious influences of the historical period contributed to what Rev. Hale asked of John Proctor?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that Hale's questioning of Proctor represents much of the religious influences of the time period in that Hale's questioning is driven by a literal interpretation of religious worship.  Hale's primary line of questioning ties into the attendance of church services.  For Hale, being present in church on each Sunday represents religious faith.  In this, one sees how the construction of religious worship of the time period is a part of determining faith.  At the same time, Hale continues questioning the religious fiber of the Proctors with asking them to recite the 10 Commandments.  The recitation of the Commandments represents a test of religious faith, reflecting the time period in which literal scripture defined spirituality.  For Hale, Proctor's analysis of a more internal notion of spirituality as defining religious faith is not convincing.  It's soft.  This represents a religious influence of the time period in which direct action was associated with religious fervor.  This is something that is also reflective of how religious order and adhering to the standard view of religion is critical in assessing one's faith.  Part of the reason that the witch hunt was so "successful" in being able to ensnare so many was that it defined religious faith in a narrow and strict manner.  Hale's questioning of Proctor at his home reflects this.

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The Crucible

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