Near the end of the play, Hale pleads with Elizabeth to convince John to confess in order to save his life. If John confesses, his life will be spared. Hale initially came to Salem to find and eradicate any elements of witchcraft. But after seeing and listening to the accusations and the illogical functioning of the court, Hale comes to another conclusion: that the accusations are in fact false and that the reactionary culture of Salem was what led to the hysteria. Hale tries to convince John to sign a confession. Hale feels guilty because he initially played a part in fueling the fire of the hysteria of witchcraft. At the end of Act Two, he effectively denounces the court so he will have no more part of the false accusations and executions. In Act Three, Hale, out of guilt and in order to save lives, suggests that John should confess to consorting with the devil, even if it is a lie. Hale says to Elizabeth:
I beg you, woman, prevail upon your husband to confess. Let him give his lie. Quail not before God's judgment in this, for it may well be God damns a liar less than he that throws his life away for pride.