At the end of Act III, Reverend Hale "denounces" the proceedings. This scene where Proctor attempts to provide multiple depositions to the court, one being Mary Warren admitting that there is no witchcraft happening, ends in Proctor himself being taken into custody for witchcraft. Hale realizes that the girls are lying, and he leaves. Act IV begins after several months have passed, in the fall. A conversation between Herrick and Danforth reveals that Hale has returned around midnight, and Danforth is suspicious of him. Herrick says, "He goes among them that will hang. . . he prays with them." Later, Hale speaks to Elizabeth and begs her to convince Proctor to confess so that he will be saved. Hale says to Elizabeth,
"Let you not mistake your duty as I mistook my own. I came into this village like a bridegroom to his beloved, bear gifts of high religion; the very crowns of holy law I brought, and I what I touched with my bright confidence, it died."
Later, when Proctor decides to hang instead of confess, Hale screams, "Woman, plead with him! It is pride, it is vanity!"
Hale feels incredibly guilty for his part as a major catalyst for the witchtrials. He is doing everything he can to prevent further bloodshed. Because of this shift, Hale can be classified as a dynamic character, one who changes throughout the course of the play.