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The Crucible

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How do events in Salem change Reverend Hale's views? The Crucible is so named because a crucible is a witch's cauldron, and the events in Salem slowly start to bubble and then boil over as more and more people add things to the pot. The play, written by Arthur Miller, is set in America in the year 1692. However it was written in the 1950s during the McCarthy Era. As Russia and America were at war over political issues, anti-communists Americans led a `witch-hunt' to stop American communists or people leaning towards communism giving away secrets to the Russians. Many were `black-listed' so were unable to find work. Arthur Miller was innocent, but refused to confess; therefore was black-listed. (like Giles Corey in the play)People were given the opportunity to save themselves by accusing other people. In both cases hysteria was evident and is one of the causes of accusation in the play. One of the main characters in The Crucible, Reverend Hale, who at first is the main believer in witchcraft and by the end is persuading people to lie,(so they aren't hanged), is also one of the most interesting and intricate characters, so I have chosen to base my essay on how his views change throughout the play. ...read more.


He has confidence that the court will know that Rebecca Nurse is innocent- however the court condemns her therefore Reverend Hale no longer believes that there are witches in Salem. Furthermore I think that Mr Proctor stuns Hale by saying "Pontius Pilate! God will not let you wash your hands of this!" after Elizabeth Proctor has been accused. In the Bible it says that the Roman Governor refused to deal with Jesus and let the people decide what to do with him. Mr Proctor is saying that Hale is refusing to do what he knows is right for fear of losing his good reputation and being blamed for the hangings- that Hale should stop the people from deciding the fate of each other and as Reverend Hale is the initiator, it is his fault, he has the power and authority to do what's right. Consequently, Reverend Hale stands up for Mr Proctor and Mary Warren when they go to overthrow the court. Danforth has tried to make Elizabeth Proctor admit that Mr Proctor had an affair, to prove that Abigail was lying. Reverend Hale comments: "I may shut my conscience to it no more- private vengeance is working through this testimony!" ...read more.


I have heard of your great charities..." His doubts are further strengthened when Elizabeth Proctor is accused, mainly because Abigail is the accuser. It is then proved that Mr Putnam is accusing people to get land (Giles Corey proves this). Reverend Hale believes both Mr Corey and Proctor. In court Elizabeth Proctor tries to protect her husband honour by lying, but this turns back on her- Danforth and Hathorne then refused to believe Abigail was lying. Reverend Hale now knows for certain that "the girls are false". He denounces the court so that his conscience is clear. He loses both his authority and respect from those around him and many begin to doubt his judgement. In jail, Elizabeth Procter 'seems to doubt it` when she is told he has no connection with the court. Hale tries to force people into confessing, not because he thinks they are guilty, he is striving hard to save lives. I think that Reverend Hale can be blamed for the initial witchcraft accusations however, as his views change, so does the author's portrayal of him. At the end he is portrayed as a good man, doing his utmost to achieve justice. I think that Reverend Hale thinks it is important to be in a position of authority but realises he could to so much more to help without it, and believes this at the end of the play. Lauren Marsh The Crucible page 1 ...read more.

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