What is the conflict between John Procter and Reverend Hale in The Crucible?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Your question implies there is a conflict between these two men in The Crucible; however, I'm not sure I would agree with the premise that they actually have one.  They do, however, have points of disagreement. Certainly they are not in agreement that going to church and having children baptized by a man who is not respected is still the right thing to do.  Certainly they view the testimony of the girls in different ways--Proctor knowing they're lying to protect themselves, Hale believing them because he is deceived by the false signs of witchcraft.  Certainly they both want to respect the Court and the law, until it turns on Proctor and he condemns the entire system--as does Hale, eventually.  Certainly Hale begs Proctor to tell a lie in order to save his life, which of course Proctor cannot, in the end, do.

What they have in common is certainly just as powerful as where they diverge.  They both believe a covenanted man in this society should know certain catechisms of the church, such as the Ten commandments.  They both have a strong faith in God, though each of them wears it differently.  They both want the truth to be told in Salem before man and God.  In the end, this is what makes them more similar than different.

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