What aspect of Reverend Hale's character is shown when he stands by and watches Elizabeth being taken away?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To a great extent, Hale's faith in the system is shown when he watches Elizabeth being taken away.  The scene is rife with emotional tension all over the place.  John Proctor is screaming and protesting that he is going to get his wife released.  Corey and Nurse stand on in mute shock.  Cheever is convinced he is doing his part as an officer of the court and Herrick reluctantly must put her in shackles.  Hale stands by and assures John that everything will be fine once the legal process runs its course.  This shows Hale to be both a part of the machinery of Salem and unaware of its motivations.  He has already spoken to both Proctors and should have gained an understanding that the unity and symmetry that he initially was promised by the likes of Parris is simply not present.  At the same time, Hale does not think of objecting to Elizabeth's arrest when the evidence of the poppet is so flimsy.  It is here where I think that Hale's character as being an apologist and part of the system is evident.  He fails to question why a housewife is being arrested because of a small doll.  He does not stop and ask what is being passed of as meeting an evidential burden.  He simply accepts it as part of the legal configuration because in Hale's mind, if the ruling bodies deem it acceptable, it must therefore be acceptable.  I think that this aspect of Hale's character is brought out in this scene.