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Hale: a spiritual doctor

Reverend Hale comes to Salem in response to a crisis in the town. He is the “spiritual doctor” summoned to evaluate Salem during this unusual crisis. His job is to diagnose witchcraft if it is present, and then provide a necessary cure through repentance and/or by removing the “witches” from Salem. Hale devotes himself to his faith and his work. His good intentions and sincere desire to help those afflicted with the ‘Devil’ motivate him.

Unfortunately, Hale is also vulnerable. His fervor for discovering witchcraft allows others, (particularly Abigail), to manipulate him. The amount of evidence for witchcraft when he arrives in Salem overwhelms him. Although Hale remains determined not to declare witchcraft unless he can prove it, the expectations of the people of Salem sweep him up, and, as a result, he takes their evidence at face value, rather than investigating it himself.

This is why I believe Reverend Hale is leading to an inevitable end due to his faulty judgements/ decisions. Because of his urge to fight the Devil he only ends up overwhelmed and confused by the situation at hand. He is sweeping up the girls involved, into this mass hysteria created by the town, to which he and the girls begin to believe and act upon. Hale begins to question Tituba and tells her that she can redeem herself by admitting that she has been working with the Devil and by telling him the names of anyone else involved. The rest of the people in the town that are in the room begin to interrogate and intimidate tituba with questions telling her that if she doesn’t confess herself that they will take her out and whip her to her death.

Another claim that they will hang her. It is no wonder Tituba plays along throughout the hysteria, for she is in fear for her life and sees that the only way out of dying is through ‘confession’, even if what she is saying is false. She admits that she has seen the Devil and that Goody Good and Goody Osburn were with him. Abigail admits that she has given herself to the Devil by writing her name in his book. She renounces the Devil and says that she wants “the sweet love of Jesus.” Abigail also claims to have seen Sarah Good and Goody Osburn with the Devil, along with Bridget Bishop. Betty wakes up all of a sudden from these chants of delirium and claims that she saw George Jacobs and Goody Howe with the Devil.

With the young girls now playing along in the mania along with himself, people believe they have no way to fix this problem unless, they remove those ‘sworn in by the Devil’ or by making them repent to the Lord, and have their names tarnished in society forever. This is when the readers of The Crucible begin to see Reverend Hale’s impact on the girls and their statements and realize that this is only the beginning of these ‘confessions’.

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