How Miller Uses Reverend Hale In The Crucible

4251 words - 17 pages

How Miller Uses Reverend Hale in The Crucible

Arthur Miller describes Reverend Hale as nearing forty, a
tight-skinned, eager-eyed intellectual. An intellectual is usually
thought of as someone with his head in the clouds, who spends so much
time thinking great thoughts that he's inept in the real world of
human emotions. There is some truth in this image of John Hale. He
knows a lot about witchcraft; but he knows almost nothing about the
people of Salem or the contention that is wracking the town. How
pompous and arrogant he must sound when he says, “Have no fear now--we
shall find [the Devil] out if he has come among us, and I mean to
crush him utterly if he has shown his face!” And yet he has every
reason to be confident. To Hale, demonology is an exact science, for
he has spent his whole life in the study of it. “We cannot look to
superstition in this. The Devil is precise.” But he is not just a
bookworm, he is a minister of God. His goal is light, goodness and its
preservation, and he is excited by being called upon to face what may
be a bloody fight with the Fiend himself. All his years of preparation
may now finally be put to the test. He fails, and the evil that
follows his first appearance totally overwhelms him. Is the fault in
his character? Is he not as smart as he thinks he is? Is he a fool,
whose meddling lit the fuse to the bomb that blew up the town? Much of
the play supports this answer. What looks like success at the end of
Act I soon carries Hale out of his depth, and every time he appears
after that he is less sure of himself. At the end of the play he has
been completely crushed: he, a minister of the light, has come to do
the Devil's work. “I come to counsel Christians they should belie
themselves. There is blood on my head! Can you not see the blood on my
head!!” It's hard to imagine going through a more horrifying
experience than the disillusionment of the Reverend Mr. Hale. All
those years of dedicated, loving study made worthless by a band of
hysterical and not-at-all innocent girls. Made worse than
worthless--his learning ends up sending nineteen people to the
gallows. And worst of all, he is helpless to stop it, having started
it in the first place. Is there evil in this man? Perhaps. According
to Christian doctrine, one of the seven deadly (or damnable) sins is
pride. In a way it's the worst one, because it was pride that made the
devil rebel against God. And Reverend Hale, when he first appears,
feels the pride of the specialist whose unique knowledge has at last
been publicly called for.

Reverend Hale unquestionably resembles that of the fictional character
Dr. Victor Frankenstein due to both of the character’s quests for
something too idealistic and complex to possibly accomplish. Though
the tone, style, and plot are of two completely different concepts,
further investigation reveals that two of the main characters in each
book are extremely similar. Through this...

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