How does Reverend Hale change throughout The Crucible,for example how is he in Act 1, Act 2 and so on

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Parris sends for Reverend Hale to study the situation since he is more conversant with matters surrounding demonic arts. Reverend Hale arrives in Salem ready for the task ahead. He brings with him plenty of books to help him along in his task of tracking down the devil. Hale informs Parris that it is necessary to study the situation before pointing to witchcraft. Hale is confident that his knowledge will guide him to the truth. However, Hale forces Tituba to make a false confession that marks the beginning of the false accusations.

Hale visits the Proctors and affirms that there is enough evidence that points to witchcraft in Salem. He tries to find out if the Proctors are involved in the unfolding events. Hale learns of the arrest of both Rebecca and Martha, and, despite having knowledge of Rebecca’s virtues, he believes witchcraft is evident and orders that due process be followed.

Hale discovers the girls’ mischief through Mary Warren’s confession and tries to support John, Francis, and Giles. Hale finally denounces the proceedings and asks that they stop before more innocent people are hanged.

HALE: Excellency, it is a natural lie to tell; I beg you, stop now before another is condemned! I may shut my conscience to it no more—private vengeance is working through this testimony! From the beginning, this man has struck me true. By my oath to Heaven, I believe him now, and I pray you call back his wife before we—

wmagley | Student

Reverend Hale changes greatly from Act I to Act IV.  He comes to Salem as an "expert" on witchcraft.  This is quite ironic because he has never actually discovered a witch. He proved in his town that one woman was not a witch.  When he arrives, he has numerous books and every expectation that he will find witches in Salem. 

In Act II he questions the Proctors on their "Christian character" in order to determine if Elizabeth is a witch, as Abigail has suggested. This is a man who believes.  He does nothing as Elizabeth is arrested.

In Act III, he comes to believe John Proctor about Abigail.  He does not believe that either Proctor is a witch and perceives Abigail to be false.  He wants the court to allow Proctor a real lawyer, so that his allegations about Abigail will be presented in a correct manner.  He believes Proctor and denounces the court at the end of the Act.

In Act IV, he returns to Salem to council all people awaiting execution to lie.  He is trying to keep them from death and this is the only way.  He does not believe that any of them are witches and is trying to save them in the only way that he can.  He is a desperate man and uses desperate measures. He does not believe at all, any more.