Why does Reverend Hale visit the Proctors? What is Hale's intention? Ultimately, what does he conclude about the Proctors?

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Reverend Hale has been charged with the task of determining who is and who is not perhaps practicing the dark arts. While he is not the final determiner in a guilty sentence—that would fall to Judges Hawthorne and Danforth—he is responsible for finding what a modern audience can assume is...

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Reverend Hale has been charged with the task of determining who is and who is not perhaps practicing the dark arts. While he is not the final determiner in a guilty sentence—that would fall to Judges Hawthorne and Danforth—he is responsible for finding what a modern audience can assume is evidence. Because he is considered an expert on demonic arts and has brought with him "weighty books," the judges rely on his testimony when making their decisions.

Hale makes clear upon his arrival he is not officially questioning the Proctors but does mention that Elizabeth Proctor's name was mentioned in the court. He has come to merely get a sense of these two people and how godly they may be. While the Proctors have already learned of this name-mentioning from their servant Mary Warren, having Hale arrive that evening makes the threat of accusations against Elizabeth all the more plausible.

Hale relies as much on superstition as on logic and his questioning of both Elizabeth and John reveals that while Proctor may not be the most devout Puritan, Elizabeth is certainly a godly woman. As the play reaches its fateful climax, Hale's conclusion about the honest natures of Elizabeth and John becomes clear. He cries out in defense of Proctor, passionately declaring that he believes the man and Abigail Williams has always struck him as false.

Ultimately, Hale is unable to sway the course of the trials and Proctor meets his end.

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