Reverend Hale Quotes

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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HALE: I must say it, Mr. Proctor; that is not for you to decide. The man's ordained, therefore the light of God is in him. 

The above quote is from Act 2.  Hale is doing an unofficial vetting of John and Elizabeth, because her name has been "somewhat mentioned" in the witchcraft proceedings.  Right before Hale's line, John Proctor admits that he sees no light of God in Reverend Parris.  He has a few reasons, and the reader tends to agree with John.  Hale's response is important because it shows him still fully supporting Parris and witchcraft trials.  That support for the court is further evidenced by the following quote:

HALE: Proctor, if she is innocent, the court—

Hale still firmly believes that the court system is incapable of mistakenly sentencing someone to death.  

By far my favorite quote from Hale is this quote:

"I come to do the Devil's work. I come to counsel Christians they should believe themselves."

He says the line in Act 4 before the very moving John Proctor "it is my name" sequence.  Hale has come back to Salem to convince John, Rebecca Nurse, and anybody else to lie and admit to witchcraft.  He wants them to confess, because it will save their lives.  That's a big shift for Hale, because it shows that he no longer trusts the courts.  He believes the courts are stealing God's most precious gift by sentencing innocent people to die.  

"Life, woman, life is God's most precious gift; no principle, however glorious, may justify the taking of it."