Why is Reverend Hale summoned to Salem village in The Crucible?

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Reverend Hale has been summoned to Salem to investigate the accusations of witchcraft.

In this play, Puritans take witchcraft very seriously.  They believe in it, or at least most of them do, and they fear it.  Reverend Hale is the person to call if you suspect there are witches in your midst!  Salem's preacher, Reverend Parris, sends for him when he realizes that he is out of his league.

Parris, his eyes going wide: No - no. There be no unnatural cause here. Tell him I have sent for Reverend Hale of Beverly, and Mr. Hale will surely confirm that.  Let him look to medicine and put out all thought of unnatural causes here. There be none. (Act 1)

Reverend Hale will supposedly investigate and determine if there is witchcraft afoot.  He is from Beverly, and “has much experience in all demonic-arts.”  This includes finding a witch in Beverly.  You can tell by the description of him that he really loves witch-hunting.

Mr. Hale is nearing forty, a tight-skinned, eager-eyed intel-lectual. This is a beloved errand for him; on being called here to ascertain witchcraft he felt the pride of the specialist whose unique knowledge has at last been publicly called for. (Act 1)

Reverend Hale thinks that the Devil is “wily.”  Proctor tells Hale that he has heard Hale is a sensible man, and he hopes that he will talk some sense into people.  Hale tries to do the right thing, but Salem is swept into hysteria.  It is hard to separate the truth from the fiction.  Hale does his best to determine if there is something really there, but ends up succumbing to the general consensus.

Being an expert on witchcraft, Hale is out of his element in Salem.  There are accusations abound from people who seem credible.  Unlike the one witch in Beverly, Salem is crawling with supposed witches.