Arthur Millers The Crucible possesses many examples of interesting character development.
A character who one initially finds to be worthy of mercy or pity can easily become the last person deserving of sympathy. This relationship is not only formed between the reader and the characters, but between the characters and the scenario of the story itself. The victim may become the accuser, or the scholar may become the humanitarian. This manner of characterization is best shown in the relationship between Reverend John Hale and Deputy Governor Danforth.
Each is objectified to the events in Salem as they come into the situation with no attachments to any of the other characters and are unfamiliar with any of their mannerisms or personalities. Hale is a well-read minister who relies upon his books. Danforth is a reputable judge who relies on consistent input and prodding. Both of these men enter the trials with very similar goals.
The places they stand at the finish, however, could not be more different. This is due to the personal relationships and opinions Hale develops concerning Salem. Reverend Hale is a dynamic character who learns his role as a minister while Judge Danforth is a constant force who voices others opinions through his authority. As Reverend John Hale is not a resident of Salem, he approaches the accusations and rumors without any prior opinion.
Hale is introduced as extremely arrogant and proud with his goal being â€œlight, goodness and its preservationâ€(Miller 34). This phrasing strengthens his role as a man of God, but this is not actually displayed in his personality until later. He is very book smart and this leads to some signs of immaturity. This is shown in Act I when Parris questions why the devil would come to Salem.
â€œWhy would he the devil choose this house to strike?â€(39) In response Hale says, â€œIt is the best the Devil wants, and who is better than the minister?â€(39) This shows he enjoys the position better than he does its purpose. He is also very eager. Upon meeting Tituba, he is relentless in his questions. He also shares the same excitement with Parris as the girls begin to reveal the false names. Hale is an extremely lively and youthful person who takes great pride in his position and his knowledge.
Reverend Hale makes many changes very quickly. This is very easy for him to do as he is quite juvenile and his mind is easily swayed due to his lack of opinion. The important thing that does not change about him is his love for God and his desire to do what is right. The first noticeable difference is the loss of arrogance in his mannerisms upon his appearance in Act II. He is very reserved now and is described as having â€œa quality of deference, even of guilt, about his mannerâ€(59). Hale is very aware of the numerous amounts of people who are called potential witches. As a result of these accusations, he is able to clearly see the direction that the trials would be taking, but â€œin my ignorance I find it hard to draw a clear opinion of them that come accused before the courtâ€(60).
His uncertainty is a theme throughout the rest of the act. A most important change occurs at the end of Act III. It is clear that throughout the course of the trial, Hale has been building up deep resentments and personal anguish. Haleâ€™s doubts and frustrations are best shown when he says, â€œI have this morning signed away the life of Rebecca Nurse, Your Honor. Iâ€™ll not conceal it, my hand shakes yet as with a wound!â€(92) Although this does not prove the finality of Hales discontent with the court, it proves he has a firm opinion of the events and is very near the end of his patience. Hale finally turns away from the court upon the accusation of John Proctor by Mary Warren.
He is outraged at Danforths trust in the girls. In doing this, Hale has also shirked in his duties as a minister and a man of God. He quickly realizes his mistake and reenters the court with a very grave and cynical position. There is also a great deal of guilt on his part. This was implied in Act II, but is fully exposed in Act VI. Danforth initially is exited upon Hales return, but soon after, upon further thought, questions Hales reasoning.
Hale says, â€œI come to do the devils work. His sarcasm collapses. There is blood on my head! Can you not see the blood on my head!!â€(121) His guilt has reached a point where he simply loses all inhibitions and does whatever he can to protect Proctor. Hale is the one who attempts to make Danforth sufficient with the verbal confession. When Proctor denies all questions concerning the innocence of Rebecca Nurse and Martha Corey, it is believed that Hale is unable to finish his work.
Hale makes a petition to Proctor. â€œMan you will hang! You cannot!â€(133) Proctors reply is,â€œ I can. And thereâ€™s your first marvel.
You have made your magic now, for now I think I do see some shread of goodness.