In The Crucible, a play written by Arthur Miller, the strict Puritan
community of Salem is bombarded with the hysteria of witchcraft. It starts when
five young girls of Salem are caught dancing in the forest. Instead as mere
children playing, this behavior is viewed upon by the Puritans as the work of
the devil. As the hysteria builds momentum, more and more accusations radiate.
Reverend Hale, a well known expert on witches, is brought into Salem to
'cleanse' the town of it's evil. At the beginning of the play, Hale leads the
onslaught of punishment for the accused; but by the end, he radically changes
his views, denouncing the court and its proceedings.
At first, Hale believes that the witch trials are necessary, and stands
by them unconditionally. When he first comes to town, he concludes that Satan
is at work. "And I mean to crush him utterly if he has shown face!" (p.39) Hale
shows his strong abhorrence toward evil. He is willing to follow the church's
authority to do anything to put a stop to it. While he is talking to Abigail, a
girl who was caught dancing in the forest, he yells, "You cannot evade meâ€¦"
(p.43) Hale expects to find evidence of witchcraft. This expectation leads him
to early, not fully thought out conclusions. Hale is determined to end the
alignments these witches have with the Devil, and he knows the court is too.
Later, Hale's views on the courts change and he becomes less obedient to
it's decisions. When the judge finds out that John Proctor, an accused witch,
plows on the Sabbath, he becomes disgusted; but Hale questions his authority.