What literary device is being used in this quote by Reverend Hale in The Crucible? "Man, remember, until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in heaven."

The literary device that Reverend Hale uses when he says "Man, remember, until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in heaven" is allusion. He alludes to the Biblical story of Satan's fall from heaven. Hale also uses an analogy by comparing Satan's fall from glory to the possibility of any righteous person committing a serious sin. His analogy shows that no one is above suspicion of witchcraft, regardless of their status or morally upright behavior.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In act 2, Reverend Hale visits the Proctor home to independently investigate John and his wife when Francis Nurse arrives and announces that Rebecca was arrested and charged with the supernatural murder of Goody Putnam's babies. Given Rebecca Nurse's outstanding reputation as a morally upright, righteous Christian, Proctor, Elizabeth, and...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

In act 2, Reverend Hale visits the Proctor home to independently investigate John and his wife when Francis Nurse arrives and announces that Rebecca was arrested and charged with the supernatural murder of Goody Putnam's babies. Given Rebecca Nurse's outstanding reputation as a morally upright, righteous Christian, Proctor, Elizabeth, and Francis are astonished by this accusation. When Francis Nurse and John Proctor become severely critical of Salem's court, Reverend Hale says,

Man, remember, until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven.

In Reverend Hale's quote, he utilizes an allusion and an analogy. An allusion is a literary device used to reference a person, place, or historical event in order to provide more context and meaning to the situation at hand. Specifically, Reverend Hale is alluding to the Biblical story of Satan's fall from heaven. According to the Bible, Satan was favored by God and considered an elite angel before he rebelled and was cast out of heaven.

Reverend Hale uses the allusion as an analogy, which is a literary device that draws a comparison between two different things for the purpose of explaining an idea. The analogy that Reverend Hale uses supports his argument that even the most righteous people can fall from glory and sin. Essentially, Reverend Hale is saying that nobody is above suspicion, even a respected Christian like Rebecca Nurse, by reminding them that Satan was once a righteous angel.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Reverend is using a Biblical allusion here to imply an analogy between that point of reference and the current situation. When we use an allusion, it only functions if the person being addressed understands the allusion. In this circumstance, the Reverend can safely assume that the story of Lucifer will come to mind here and that his caution will be understood.

What the Reverend is saying is that anyone can fall from grace, even the most beautiful and beloved, if they commit a sin or misstep. Just as Lucifer, once the most beloved of God's angels, was cast out of heaven when he failed to obey its rules, anyone who does not abide by the rules of their society—even if they have previously been beloved—can be cast out. Essentially, he is saying that nobody is above judgment.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The literary device being used in this quotation, which is spoken by Reverend Hale in Act Three of The Crucible, is that of an allusion.

An allusion is a reference to a person, place, idea, or thing that has some sort of literary, political, historical, or cultural importance. Allusions do not explicitly describe what they are referring to, but rather only mention it in passing.

In this quote, Reverend Hale is making an allusion to the Biblical story of Lucifer, a once loved attendant of the Lord, being cast out of heaven and banished forever from God's side. We can find references to this incident repeatedly throughout the Bible, but perhaps most notably in Ezekiel 28, which states:

You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you.

Hale is using this tale to make a point that even the good women of Salem, once loved by God, could error and sin—resulting in their fall from grace. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In this quote, Reverend Hale uses a Biblical allusion as both a warning and explanation for John Proctor. Taken from Act III of The Crucible, Hale still believes that the town and the girls are afflicted by an unseen unnatural force.  While Proctor is, understandable, distressed that his wife has not only been accused, but is being arrested along with Rebecca Nurse and Martha Corey.

As these women, some of the most well-known and righteous people in Salem are being arrested, Proctor implores Hale about Rebecca "How may such a woman murder children?"

Hale's response alludes to the bible story's about the devil which state that at one time he was a favored of God and lived in heaven with him. He was not banished to hell until he went against God and thus "fell from Heaven.  Hale is suggesting that these good women may have fallen in a similar manner.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team