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Discuss Hale’s role in the Crucible

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Introduction

Discuss Hale's role in the Crucible We first meet Hale when he arrives in Salem from Beverly, he has been summoned to ascertain witchcraft. He is first described as an "eager-eyed intellectual", and then we are told that "he felt the pride of a specialist" in being called for. It is clear from these two descriptions that he arrives in Salem brimming with confidence, confidence not only in the bible and theology, but in his own ability to follow its principles fairly and morally. This is due to his past experience of witchcraft in his hometown of Beverly, the woman accused of witchcraft "turned into a mere pest under his searching scrutiny". He also has an arrogance and complacency that stems from his superior biblical knowledge. On his way to Beverly "he has passed a hundred rumours that make him smile at the ignorance of the yeomanry in this most precise science. He feels himself allied with the best minds of Europe- kings, philosophers, scientists, and ecclesiasts of all churches." This pride and arrogance, which Hale betrays in his first entrance in the book, turns out to be his hamartia or failure of judgement later on in the play. ...read more.

Middle

He defends Giles Corey and his wife against the court, he asks the court to realise what they are doing when he says, "I think that in all justice you must..." His protestations are ignored by the court emphasising the audience's feeling of frustration and helplessness in witnessing the injustice taking place. He airs his feeling of guilt when he says "Excellency, I have signed seventy-two death warrants; I am a minister of the Lord, and I dare not take a life without there be proof so immaculate no slightest qualm of conscience may doubt it", he also goes on to ask for the defendants to be given lawyers to defend their cases which seems to be a just demand, but is merely rebuked by Danforth for "doubt(ing) (his) justice". This is rather ironic as the audience does not only doubt his justice, but knows him to be completely unjust. At the point where Elizabeth lies to save her husband's name Hale is the only person who understands that she is lying, once again acting as the choric figure when he says, "Excellency, it is a natural lie to tell; I beg you, stop now before another is condemned! ...read more.

Conclusion

This is due to the fact that Proctor has finally forgiven himself for his hamartia, which was lust, and sleeping with Abigail. He says "You have made your magic now, for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor." As Elizabeth says, "He have his goodness now." Hale in contrast has no redemption, and ironically pleads with Elizabeth to stop Proctor, saying, "It is pride, it is vanity", the very faults that led Hale to misguidedly accuse the village of witchcraft. It is clear that the fact that he has no redemption at the end of the play is meant to be a lesson by Miller that his mistakes were unforgivable. Hale can be seen as a tragic hero, although Proctor is obviously the main tragic hero in the play, Hale has an almost hubric flaw or hamartia, which leads to his nemesis. He falls from the position of minister to a broken individual, eaten up by guilt, and although his character is flawed, he maintains a high sense of morality throughout the play. Hale is clearly a vessel for Miller's views on the witch-hunt of Salem, and thus an observer of the injustices of the Communist witch-hunt. However Hale is a more complex character than that, and it is not clear whether at the end of the novel whether he should be pitied or ignored. 1310 words Charlie Smith ...read more.

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