When Hale first arrives in Salem, he is full of confidence in himself, in his experience, and in his abilities. Hale has been called in as a witchcraft expert of sorts, and he approaches his task with passion, logic, and learning. He truly believes that Satan is real and witchcraft...
When Hale first arrives in Salem, he is full of confidence in himself, in his experience, and in his abilities. Hale has been called in as a witchcraft expert of sorts, and he approaches his task with passion, logic, and learning. He truly believes that Satan is real and witchcraft can be identified in the same way that a doctor would diagnose an illness and provide a cure. Hale even shows up with books to help him identify the extent of the witchcraft in Salem.
Hale, setting down his books: They must be; they are weighted with authority.
Parris, a little scared: Well, you do come prepared!
Hale: We shall need hard study if it comes to tracking down the Old Boy.
Hale further stresses his scientific approach with the following quote.
We cannot look to superstition in this. The Devil is precise; the marks of his presence are definite as stone.
As Hale continues his investigation, he becomes less and less confident in whether or not Satan is at work. He begins to see the possibility of hysteria influencing the proceedings, and Hale eventually gets to a point where he genuinely believes that he, the court, and the town have been duped and have been sentencing entirely innocent people to die.
Hale eventually becomes so confident the court proceedings are in error that he denounces the entire proceedings and quits the court.
I denounce these proceedings, I quit this court!
Hale will finally return in the final act, and he is a completely changed person. He is a broken man that now realizes that he contributed to the hysteria that resulted in so many deaths, and he openly admits it.
Why, it is all simple. I come to do the Devil’s work. I come to counsel Christians they should belie themselves. His sarcasm collapses. There is blood on my head! Can you not see the blood on my head!!