How are Rev. Hale's personal beliefs in conflict with authority in The Crucible?

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missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hale originally came to Salem to help remove any demon possession or witchcraft in the community. He came with "heavy books" that bore great authority (though he had little to no experience with exorcism). However, by the end of the story, after participating in accusations and evidence gathering to accuse so many of the innocent, he comes to the realization of their innocence. Hale realizes Rebecca Nurse and John Proctor are not bewitched. He pleads with the authorities to just let them go. However, the authorities INSIST that in order for their lives to be spared, Nurse and Proctor must confess a lie. Hale, as a minister does not believe lies are a righteous behavior. Yet, he pleads with them both to lie, and he pleads with the authorities to overlook the lie. These instances Hale's original purpose and final purpose, and initial position regarding Proctor and Nurse, and ultimate position regarding the pair certainly demonstrate great conflict with those in authority. Furthermore, they function as great ironies of the text.