When Rev. Hale arrives in Salem in The Crucible, where does he imply authority resides, and what does this say about his personality?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rev. Hale arrives in Salem confident in his knowledge and in his assignment "from God" to determine whether the devil or witchcraft is afoot in the village.  As he approaches Rev. Parris, he bears numerous books, and Rev. Parris remarks on how heavy the books are.  Rev. Hale replies,

" 'They must be; they are weighted with authority' " (Act 1, Scene 3).

This brief exchange demonstrates that Hale bases his work and findings upon the authorities who have gone before him.  He believes strongly in the standards/tests set by previous "specialists" in his field and plans on using those same methods (described in his books) to help Salem.

This authority that Hale bestows upon books is evidence that he is as logical as someone can be when it comes to an area such as witchcraft and that he will not be easily swayed if someone disagrees with his books or previous learning. Miller uses this to foreshadow the play's later conflict between Hale and the judges who decide to accept spectral evidence and the girls' unsubstantiated testimony as proof of witchcraft rather than Hale's thorough investigations.

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The Crucible

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