How is Reverend Hale involved in the theme of mass hysteria in The Crucible?

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In Arthur Miller's celebrated play The Crucible, Reverend Hale plays a significant role in cultivating an atmosphere of hysteria throughout Salem when he arrives from Beverly carrying books outlining the spiritual world and describing the dark arts. In act one, Reverend Parris feels pressure from the community to...

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In Arthur Miller's celebrated play The Crucible, Reverend Hale plays a significant role in cultivating an atmosphere of hysteria throughout Salem when he arrives from Beverly carrying books outlining the spiritual world and describing the dark arts. In act one, Reverend Parris feels pressure from the community to summon an expert in witchcraft in order to solve the mystery surrounding Betty and Ruth's illnesses. He calls on Reverend Hale to investigate Salem's community for witchcraft and Hale confidently begins his search. Reverend Hale proceeds to interrogate and examine innocent citizens in hopes of discovering signs of witchcraft, which significantly contributes to the growing hysteria throughout Salem.

Citizens view Reverend Hale as an authority figure and believe that he is able to discern whether or not a person is a witch or colluding with the devil. Given the religious nature of Salem's society, the idea of spiritual warfare between God and Satan is ingrained in their culture and Reverend Hale's presence solidifies this fact. Reverend Hale is also confident in his ability to identify witches and Salem's court develops into an indisputable authority.

As Reverend Hale carries out his investigation, more and more citizens are accused of witchcraft and begin to offer false confessions as Abigail and the girls testify against them. The confessions support Salem's court and hysteria continues to spread as innocent citizens are publicly hanged. Since Reverend Hale is a member of Salem's court, his word carries authority and his investigation contributes to the spread of witchcraft hysteria.

Eventually, Reverend Hale experiences a change of heart and regrets being a part of Salem's corrupt court. Unfortunately, Reverend Hale's transformation comes too late and he cannot save John Proctor or Rebecca Nurse from the gallows.

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