Sympathetic Hale?Do you find Hale Sympathetic in Act 3?  If so, why?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Sympathetic Hale?

Do you find Hale Sympathetic in Act 3?  If so, why?

Rev. Hale gained my sympathy because he is horrified when he realizes he has played a major role in condemning innocent people. Because he is a good man, he tries desperately to stop the disaster he has helped create. Hale fights for Proctor's life. He challenges the court, a dangerous act in this time and place.

Rev. Hale came to Salem believing that he could help, that he could save people's souls. He trusted the "knowledge" he found in his many books on witchcraft. He acted in good faith. When he does understand the true nature of Abigail's accusations and realizes he can do nothing to stop the murders being committed in the name of religion, he quits the court, making himself an outcast.

lizbv eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Reverend Hale is absolutely sympathetic in Act III.  He recognizes the anguish that John Proctor is experiencing when he yells out that Abigail is a "whore" and a liar.  John Proctor tells Danforth "I have known her", explaining the true motives behind the accusations, namely to have Elizabeth taken out of the picture so she can have John.  Elizabeth is brought in, on account that John said she has never told a lie in her life, and when she does indeed lie to save her husband, Reverend Hale jumps up to say that it is an undersatndable lie to save her husband.  He is trying to help the Proctors by the end of Act III.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rev. Hale is indeed a sympathetic character in this scene.  He is as gentle as he can be, I think, as he talks with the Proctors, and he is genuinely surprised when Rebecca and Martha have been arrested.  he's incredulous that Elizabeth has been summoned, because he was at the house to determine guilt and now it was taken out of his hands.  It's an outrageous series of events, and Hale--like the rest of us--is outraged at them.