What does Giles Corey reveal about his wife to Reverend Hale in The Crucible by Arthur Miller?

In The Crucible, Giles Corey reveals to Reverend Hale that his wife, Martha, has been arrested for witchcraft. In act 2, scene 3, Corey tells Hale that Mr. Walcott’s false claim is connected with his admission that she reads books. Walcott suspect that Martha learned witchcraft from the books and used it to bewitch his pigs.

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Arthur Miller gives us some insight into the octogenarian Giles Corey in his author's notes in act one of The Crucible. Giles is a rather comical and stubborn man, but he is also good-hearted and well meaning. He married his wife, Martha, later in life, and he also came to faith later in life. Unlike the Christian concept of prayer which is based on rather informal conversation with God, the Puritans learned their prayers and then had to recite them.

When Giles asks a question, it is because he wants to know the answer. He and Proctor seem quite different, but they think alike about many things. Before the Reverend Hale arrives, John is ready to leave Parris's house and asks Giles to come along. Giles says he wants to stay because he has "some few queer questions of my own to ask this fellow." Reverend Hale is well known for understanding witchcraft and being able to discern the mark of Satan when it is there. Giles respect this man of learning and wants to take advantage of this opportunity to talk to him.

When Giles finally gets the chance to ask his questions, this is what he asks:

Giles: Mr. Hale, I have always wanted to ask a learned man--what signifies the readin’ of strange books?

Hale: What books?

Giles: I cannot tell; she hides them.

Hale: Who does this?

Giles: Martha, my wife. I have waked at night many a time and found her in a corner, readin’ of a book. Now what do you make of that? 

Hale: Why, that’s not necessarily--

Giles: It discomfits me! Last night--mark this--I tried and tried and could not say my prayers. And then she close her book and walks out of the house, and suddenly--mark this--I could pray again!

Hale: Ah! The stoppage of prayer--that is strange. I’ll speak further on that with you.

Giles: I’m not sayin’ she’s touched the Devil, now, but I’d admire to know what books she reads and why she hides them. She’ll not answer me, y’ see.

Giles is genuinely interested in the answers to his questions and in no way is implying anything about Martha and witchcraft. It is just something odd that he wonders about, and Hale is the one he asks. 

What is probably true is that Giles is somewhat intimidated by his younger wife, someone who not only knows her prayers well but also reads regularly. Perhaps she hides her book so her husband will not feel bad because he cannot read. As a new convert, it is natural for him to stumble through his prayers at times--or even be too flustered by Martha's presence to speak at all. These questions are innocent and intended to be nothing more than genuine interest; however, in this environment of suspicion and accusation these questions could be seen as more than that. 

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What does Giles Corey reveal to Reverend Hale in The Crucible?

In act 2, scene 3 of The Crucible , Giles Corey comes to the Proctors’...

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home, where Reverend Hale has been talking with them. He tells Hale and the others that his wife, Martha, has been removed from their home. She is accused of witchcraft. Francis Nurse also arrives, stating that his wife, Rebecca, was also taken. The two men have just come from the jail, where they were not allowed to see their wives.

Hale inquires about the charges against the women. The men tell him that Rebecca Nurse was accused of killing babies, while Martha Corey is charged with killing pigs. Corey explains that he has shared the information that Martha reads books, but he insists that he never associated her habits with witchcraft. Corey is upset with Hale’s apparent unquestioning acceptance of the devil’s presence in their community.

Corey attributes the false accusation to a grudge that Mr. Walcott holds against Martha. He explains that their disagreement goes back four or five years, when Walcott accused Martha of selling him a sick pig. To Walcott, his subsequent difficulties with raising healthy pigs were Martha’s fault. Calling Walcott a “bloody mongrel,” Corey states that Walcott has gone to court with his accusations, claiming that his pigs all die because Martha used her books to bewitch them.

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What news does Giles Corey reveal to the Proctor and Reverend Hale in the second act of the play?

Giles Corey and Francis Nurse have come to announce that both their wives have been taken. This is a critical moment for both Proctor and Hale. For Proctor, he sees that the conflict he has tried to avoid is approaching ever closer. His isolationist stance will not work. He will have to face Abigail. For Hale, this is his first searing moment of doubt. He has been able to accept the guilt of the others, including Elizabeth, because he does not feel a connection with them. Rebecca Nurse, however, being educated and more, he believes, on his intellectual level, should have been above reproach and suspicion. He can not understand how she could have been accused, and for the first time seriously doubts the validity of the accusations in general.

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