Compare And Contrast John Proctor And Hale

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Reverend Hale and John Proctor
Written in the 1950s, Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible delineates the situation of the McCarthyism conflicts in America while the plays’ events itself revolve around the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692. In the play, two major characters are Reverend Hale, an “expert on witches” sent to Salem for investigation, and John Proctor, a man known for his leadership and hard work. Proctor and Hale, other than both being Puritans, are alike in their actions and motives since they both see the depravity of the court and seek to protect people from it. However, they have major differences in their character as they have contrasting dedication to Christianity and the values that they live by.
John Proctor and Reverend Hale
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Proctor evidently comes to realize that he values integrity and moral justice more than his reputation and even his life. At first, he accepts his conviction of being hanged because he knows he has no way out of it, but changes his mind after his wife Elizabeth’s persuading. His mindset was that since he already committed a sin, therefore he wouldn’t go to heaven like Rebecca Nurse. He believes that one more lie cannot send him to Hell twice, so he chooses to lie and delay going to hell—the same consequence. He is cooperative and confesses that he has seen the Devil, but after Danforth’s asks him whether he had seen other people with the Devil, he loses his patience. He is unable to lie and accuse others who are innocent, even if it means throwing away his reputation of being a good man as well as his life. To Danforth, Proctor cries out, “Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang!” (Miller 143). Contrasting to this, Hale would easily throw away integrity for his life. In Act Four, he comes back to Salem and tries to convince the people being hanged to lie and confess so they can save their lives. This obviously contradicts Proctor’s moral beliefs as he had thrown away his life for integrity instead. Additionally, Proctor and Hale are very different Puritans. Hale, being a minister and having earned his title of Reverend, is a committed Puritan. Being a pious man, he is shocked to hear that a Christian could miss a day of church or even plow on a Sunday: “And yet, Mister, a Christian on Sabbath Day must be in church” (Miller 65). Hale also questions why only two of Proctor’s three sons are baptized, implying that he is concerned with Proctor’s dedication to Christianity. Clearly contrasting Hale’s religious devotion, Proctor often misses church, and has even plowed on a Sunday, a great act of

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