The Crucible, By Arthur Miller Essay

1016 words - 4 pages

When reading a classic novel like that of Arthur Miller, we oftentimes encounter the typical dynamic character; the lovable cocoon experiencing a most dramatic metamorphosis right before the reader’s eyes. In The Crucible, the reader is initially introduced to a reserved, confident, and scholarly Reverend Hale, who arrives in the secluded, gloomy town of Salem to investigate the mysterious behavior of the local priest’s daughter; Betty Proctor . Throughout the novel, Miller reveals Hale’s transformation from within his strict cocoon of formal studies and formulaic outlook on witchcraft diagnostics and religion to a jaded, less-than-sure of himself scholar, broken by the raw injustice and shameless hypocrisy which he witnesses in Salem. By the end of the novel, Miller’s butterfly thrives vicariously through Hale’s now brazenly fair, honest, and rational character. However, this transformation does not come about without a moment’s faltering on Hale’s part.
In the start of the reader’s acquaintance with Reverend Hale, he is portrayed as a “…nearly forty…tight-skinned, eager-eyed intellectual,”—a formal and adamant individual (---). The seemingly perfect savior, Hale yet possesses an unspeakable vice; idealism. He graces the community eager to seek and eradicate the source Betty of her ‘satanic’ chokehold, but fails to see the foreboding clouds that churn a sinister storm over Salem as a whole, as the town had earlier been taken into the custody of a select few’s suspicion, vengeance, and hysteria. Ignorant to this fact and deeply certain of his cause, Hale diligently works at his case as a myriad of other witchcraft cases pour into the higher courts of Salem. He claims he will rid Betty of the unholy forces working within her even if it meant “[crushing Satan] utterly […or ripping] and [tearing] to get her free.” (---). However, he very fairly asserts that “[the people] cannot look to superstition in this [situation],” and that he “…shall not proceed unless [they] are prepared to believe [him] if [he] should find no [witchcraft in relevance to Betty’s condition].” (---) At this point Hale’s character is amassed by his good, Godly intentions. Ironically, this very goodness is what much later leads to his transformation, seeing as it helps him to recognize the truly guilty and innocent residing in Salem, to whom others are blinded by their pride and ulterior motives.
In another change of heart, Reverend Hale falls briefly into the hysteria surrounding the witch trials. During a local midwife, Tituba’s trial, Reverend Hale aggressively interrogates her, asking, “When the devil comes to you, does he ever come…with another person? Perhaps another person in the village? Someone you know?” (24). In assuming that Tituba has been in contact with the devil before even hearing her testimony, Hale had hastily and unfairly accused her of witchcraft, as the rest of Salem had become prone to accepting as legitimate grounds for conviction. On the other side of...

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