The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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In The Crucible, Hale says, "They [the books] must be [heavy]; they are weighted with authority." What is the significance of this remark?

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This statement, spoken by the renowned witch hunter Reverend Hale, shows the tremendous faith he has in his own education, as well as his overconfidence and even cockiness when it comes to his ability to find witches. His arrogance, which stems from the amount of reading he has done on the subject of witches, is on full display when he says things like,

No, no. Now let me instruct you. We cannot look to superstition in this. The Devil is precise; the marks of his presence are definite as stone.

Standing in a room with at least a few intelligent people, some with more education or experience than otherss—and even another minister, the Reverend Parris—Hale champions the knowledge he's gained from his weighty books. He is the expert here because he has read and studied all of these texts. In fact, he refuses even to continue his investigation unless the others are "prepared to believe" him should he determine that Betty Parris is not the clutches of hell. He believes that "all the...

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