What kind of man is Reverend Hale when he first arrives in Salem? to what extent is he a changed man in Act four?

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copelmat eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rev. Hale is one of the more interesting characters in the play. In the beginning, he is very self-assured of both himself and his religion; he is convinced that the truth resides within his books. At the play develops and the accusations of witchcraft explode within Salem, Rev. Hale begins to question his own sense of truth and justice. Ultimately, he comes to the realization that his early point of view of the events of Salem were completely erroneous and misguided. Hale learns that he must investigate the full facts before him and ultimately comes to realize that Proctor is telling the truth regarding witchcraft. However, Hale is not an admirable characters at the end of the play. Despite his new understanding and appreciation for the truth, he abandons Proctor and the village of Salem when he cannot convince others of his point of view. His pride and arrogance overcomes him and he "quits the court" in disgust and flees Salem.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When he gets to Salem for the first time, Rev. Hale is sort of an arrogant man.  He has a lot of learning and he thinks he knows how to find evidence of Satan's influence in the community.  He shows this by grilling the Proctors about stuff like how often they go to church and whether they know the Commandments.

By the time Act IV comes around, he has gotten a lot more humble.  He no longer thinks that he knows everything.  Instead, he thinks that the court has gone to far and needs to pull back.