What does Reverend Hale represent in society?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Reverend Hale represents those individuals who believe in the sincerity of their own emotions and convictions, but who can be easily manipulated to do the bidding of others who have ulterior motives at hand.  Reverend Hale truly believes that what he is doing is right.  He believes in stamping out witches and Satan, as well as the devil.  There is little doubt in that he understands these ideals in a genuine and authentic manner.  Yet, he does not grasp that he is being used by those who wish to advance the trials for their own benefit.  When he does realize all too late as to what is happening, it does not make much in way of difference.

It is here where Hale's significance in society is noted.  The idea of blindly following one's beliefs without questioning how they can be manipulated is something that haunts Miller.  Given his own experience with the hunt against Communists, it stands to reason that Miller knew of people who legitimately believed that Communism was bad.  Yet, these individuals who possessed such open and honest beliefs were manipulated by those such as McCarthy and Roy Cohn who saw what they were doing not in terms of "right/ wrong" but in terms of power and the ability to exercise it over people's lives.  It is here where Miller constructs a character who is flawed in Hale, even though he is legitimate and sincere of his beliefs.  It is only through this authenticity that he is victimized and through which he, inadvertently, victimizes others.

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