Kit Carrau 5th January 2002
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
The Reverend John Hale embodies the growing awareness of the illegality and immorality of the Salem witch trials.
The Crucible is set in Salem, Massachusetts, USA, and is a study in the mass hysteria which led to the 1692 Salem Witchcraft trials. The trials then led to the execution of twenty people. Arthur Miller was born on 17th October 1915 in New York and wrote The Crucible in 1953. This was in the middle of the McCarthy Witch Hunt in America. McCarthyism was an anti-communist crusade in America that started in the early 1950’s and led by Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy. The Crucible was meant to be seen as a political parable to this. This is because the McCarthy trials were very similar to the 1692 Salem Witch trials.
In the Crucible, the Reverend John Hale embodies the growing awareness of the illegality and immorality of the Salem Witch trials. In the essay I will focus on the situation that Hale walks into when he makes his entrance to the play. I will also focus on the way the audience perceives him, the changes he undergoes and his reflection on the Salem community.
Reverend John Hale is brought into Salem after Betty Parris is taken ill and Dr Walcott could not find any answer to her illness. Betty is the daughter of Reverend Samuel Parris and is ten years old. People in the village suspect witchcraft for the cause of it and her father is extremely worried about his reputation within the community. This is because he has not been in Salem for long and does not have many friends in the community. Reverend John Hale is very keen on finding a witch because his last witch hunt was a failure. The women turned out to be an extremely troubled person under Hale’s examination and the victim of the women’s witchery recovered from all symptoms with a few days’ rest.
When Reverend John Hale enters the play he walks in with great power and quickly claims authority. He also walks in with respect and great value from the Salem community as they believe that he will have the answers to their problems. Hale walks into mass hysteria among the Salem community with people accusing other people of witchcraft and is a time for getting revenge for disputes in the past. People could go to church and say that their neighbour entered their bedroom last night with the devil.