From a youthful age, people are taught to believe in a definitive dichotomy of right and wrong. Every subconscious thought is a consequence of this struggle to reach out for the truth. Among many hindrances of truth is hubris, which provides a gateway to a character’s inevitable downfall. This idea is embedded within the crux of Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, as Reverend Hale practices his craft of identifying witchcraft and unknowingly walks through the gateway of false truths. Through his struggles, Reverend Hale exhibits how real truth is not easily uncovered as he loses and redeems his conscience.
Reverend Hale strays away from his intuition as he is blinded by hubris. Hale is asked by Parris to help expel witchcraft currently in Salem. Hale is particularly appreciative of this invitation since he is known for his proficiency on the topic of witchcraft. However, this expertise turns his pure truths to false truths through ...view middle of the document...
Even though Hale’s truths do start pure, his hubris quickly cloaks real truth, and thus, a purification endeavor turns into a hunt. While he uses the books to “purify” those who allegedly committed witchery, the actions are hypocritical to the context of his books by condemning many innocent people. Ultimately, Hale’s acts feed his ego and his acts seem impure due to this
Although Reverend Hale loses his conscience, he faces a realization of his wrongdoings and notices the real truth. During the night when Elizabeth Proctor is arrested, Hale experiences arguably the greatest turnaround throughout the duration of The Crucible. Reverend Hale’s conscience finally becomes clear through this event. When he returns to the court, he says to Danforth, “ I cannot say he is an honest man; I know him little. But in all justice, sir, a claim so weighty cannot be argued by a farmer. In God’s name, sir, stop here; send him home and let him come again with a lawyer-” (Miller 184). Here, Hale admits his ignorance of state of John Proctor’s soul and the court’s incompetence to accuse Proctor. Reverend Hale understands the corruption of the court and its hypocritical behavior. In fact, he becomes so opposed to Danforth’s wrongdoings that he takes his own route and leaves the court’s committee. Hale also offers a cause for his transformation. Earlier in the play, he is sure that the Devil is there if it is to be found. However, in this quote, he shows not only the courts inability to determine good and evil, but also his own inability to determine good and evil. With a clear mindset, he now can differentiate his old, arrogant actions and the correct response to the situation which leads him to uncover his true virtuous self.
In his arduous endeavor for purification, Reverend Hale illustrates the difficulty of discerning truth through the ruination of his psyche and his eventual retrieval of it. Miller uses Hale to illustrate how fragile a character is. Hale’s single flaw of pridefulness throws his entire mindset on tilt and influences the society around him. Although he does take steps through the gateway of false truths, his realization of his wrongdoings proves his respectable characterization.