The Crucible


John Hale is the minister of Beverly, which has been summoned to Salem to discover and
extinguish supposed witchcraft in the town of Salem, Mass. in the colonial period. Hale
overgoes a gradual change of character and belief as the play unfolds. As a dynamic
character? Though a gradual change it is, the change drastically changes his views and
ideas of what is God?s will and where his priorities lie.

The end of Act One exhibits the audience a zealous priest, Reverend John Hale,
looking for evidence of witchcraft, real or make believe. Most convenient for Hale the
town of Salem has more than enough evidence for him to become ecstatic about.
Although he does express that, "We can not look to superstition in this. The Devil is
precise; the marks of his presence are as definite as stone, and I must tell you all that I
shall not precede unless you are prepared to believe me if I should find no bruise of hell
upon her" (38), it is a mere empty promise, since before the ending of Act One he already
mentally decides Salem is plagued with witchcraft, with or without concrete evidence to
support his allegation. Hale uses such scant evidence as Putnam?s death of her first seven
children and Giles? wife reading of strange books which keep him from reciting the Lord?s
prayer. Ironically, he encounters, Tituba, after hearing that this Barbados slave had been
practicing voodoo with the afflicted girls. After Hale puts immense pressure on Tituba to
proclaim herself a witch Hale is able to manipulate Tituba to claim that she had used
witchcraft on the girls. After declaring herself a witch she accuses the names of four
honest and innocent women, thus starting the chain affect of accused witches accusing
others of witchcraft, that soon would follow. So Hale, single-handedly, who was
manipulated by Abigail?s lies and false fits, started the entire conflict with his aggressive
technique to propel Tituba to confess to association with the devil, which in truth had
never covenanted.
At the time in Act Two that Hale enters there is a presence of guilt about him,
which foretells what his mission in the Proctor?s house is, to question Elizabeth on the
suspicion of practicing witchcraft on Abigail Williams. So, to begin to further his case in
witchcraft he confronts Mr. Proctor about his lack of attendance to church and about one
of his children not being baptized. Proctor answers both of these question with his
disapproval of greed Rev. Parris. Hale even demands to hear the Lord?s ten
commandments form both Mr. and Mrs. Proctor. Hale scrutinizes and probes the
Proctors the entire visit for any form of evidence that he could associate with the traits of
a witch. That all changes though, something is told to Hale that blows his mind,
something he doesn?t scarcely believe at first, that Abigail Willaims told, to Proctor?s face,
that there was no such act of witchcraft in Salem, whatsoever. Proctor defends his
statement by questioning Hale many times over which in response Hale exclaims that
Proctor?s notion was nonsense since Hale himself conducted the examinations with the
accused, "There are them that will swear to anything before they?ll hang; have you ever
though of that?" (69). Then this quote follows, "Hale: I-I have indeed. It is his own
suspicion, but he resists it." (69). This remark and even more so this hesitation by Hale
reveals that at this point Hale has already started to question his own actions, but is not
yet at the point of knowing if this "witchcraft" is actually just a lofty act by the
self-proclaimed tortured children. After this insertion Hale begins to ask both Mrs. and
Mr. Proctor if they believe in the existence of witches. Why? Because Hale wants to
make sure his accusations and examinations are believed to be proper in accordance to
what is justifiable in the eyes of fellow townsfolk. A point comes near the end of Act Two
that the audience learns that Goody Nurse, the kindest, most saint-like of Salem, has been
taken into custody under warrant of witchcraft. This is the part where the audience really
starts to see a difference in Hale?s attitude and belief. For example, during the
conversation with Mr. Nurse concerning Rebecca?s imprisonment, " Hale, turns from
Francis, deeply troubled: ...Let you rest upon the Justice of the court..." (71), "Hale,
pleading: ...There is a misty plot afoot...", (71) and "Hale, in great pain: ...until an hour
before the devil fell, God thought him beautiful in heaven." (71). All these quotes
magnify, in speech, that Hale is still confident in his belief of the justice