Why at the end of the play do we admire Reverend Hale and yet despise Reverend Parris? At the end of the play Arthur Miller has written this play so we despise Reverend Parris, but admire Reverend Hale and in this essay I am going to explain why. The crucible is a play written, by Arthur Miller, as a way to disaprove of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s attitude to Communism in the late 40’s and early 50’s, where he falsley accused people of being Communists because of the ‘Red Scare.
‘ Some people had compared this to a witch-hunt and Arthur Miller thought writing a play about the Salem Witch Trials, which ran in parralel to these events, was a way to criticise McCarthyism without being suceptible to punishment because his play couldn’t be directly linked to McCarthyism even though everyone knew the hidden meaning within the play. At the start of the play Parris’ job as the towns Reverand is in disrepute, as his daughter, Betty, is believed to have had dealings with the devil.
He contacts Reverand Hale, known to be accomplished in the area of exorcisms to assist and guide him with his situation. He has a hidden agenda, which is he is less concerned about the well-being of the town and more with his job, family and most importantly his reputation, ‘if you trafficked spirits in the forest I must know it now, for surely my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it. ‘ This quotes summerises Parris’ attitude towards his family and what an egomaniac he is, he is so obsessed with what people think of him he doesn’t care about the health of his daughter.
When Hale arrives he truly believes there is witchcraft and, as a good selfless priest, tries to rid the town of Satan. After he has arrived and assessed the situation he is absolutely sure of witchcraft, “The devil is precise- the marks of his presence are as definite as stone. ” He is unaware that there is no withcraft in the town and it is all pretence, as he is being deceived by the girls in the village and Parris himself after he discovers the truth. Later, after being influenced by John Proctor he finds out that all the witchcraft deception.
After he identified this he tries to inform and persuade Judge Hathorne and Deputy Governor Danforth (the Judges in the court, who influence the hangings) the truth. They won’t either believe him or they are too stubborn to go back on their previous actions, it would be unfair on the people hanged and their family if the Judges suddenly change their minds on the situation and believe all of the trial was fraudulent. Hale’s selflessness also makes him an admirable character, he puts his faith, and other people before himself.
For example later on in the play he tries his uptmost to stop John Proctor and the other accused citizens from getting hung. The people who are accused of withcraft have they choice of either falsley naming other people as witches or be hung themselves, John Proctor and a number of others have decided to be good Christians and not lie, which means they are sacrificing themselves for their religion. Hale, as a relgious man, has very strong morals but feels this is ridiculous and unavailing as the trial itself is so ridiculous.
He feels this sacrifice is almost suicide and tries to persuade them to do otherwise, ‘It is mistaken law that leads you to sacrifice. Life, woman, life is God’s most precious gift; no principle, however glorious, may justify the taking of it,’ this shows that he cares more about the people of the town than even his religious, which is the most important thing in his life. Parris on the other hand is the complete opposite as he is more concerned with his ego and him trying to improve his reputation in the town of Salem.
He comes across as a man not holy enough to be a priest to the inhabitants of the town, he was previously a slave trader, his church ceremonies aren’t what the town’s-people feel relevant or what they are used to from their last Reverand, he is also disliked for being an unpleasant person. His personality hasn’t pleased John Proctor, ‘I see no light of God in that man. I’ll not conceal it. ‘ John Proctor is a very well known and loved man in the townand with the disrespect of John Proctor he has also lost the respect of a number of John Proctor’s friends which is a significant majority of the town.
Due this John Proctor doesn’t attend church regularly and because of this Parris later accuses him of being an unholy man, even though he knows exactly why he doesn’t come to church, this shows his evil character. For the duration of Act 2 Reverand Hale is unaware he is not doing the work of God, because he is being mislead by the girls, so by arresting and punishing people for witchcraft, he is doing exactly what he set out not to do accidentally. He is being a victim of Abigail’s story and plan to get rid of Elizabeth Proctor.
He is not doing the wrong thing here on purpose, which is the opposite of Parris who knows exactly what he is doing. This is he is trying to convince people that there really is witchcraft in the town of Salem, so he can save his job and try not to lose the little respect he had. He is also allowing other evil people to try and profit from the whole affair, for example Thomas Putnam trying to get his neighbours killed so that he can have their land added on to his farming land.
Parris is very aware of everything that is happening and probably deep down he knows it is wrong and knows that he should bring a stop to all the deaths, but it would be too much of a loss for him to lose his job. He has already lost his wife, and now he is losing his daughter and niece to witchcraft and without a his job he would have nothing, as his job provides him with his house and food, but no money so he has nothing saved up to fall back on.
In the end he loses his job and his niece runs off with his money so basically he gets what he deserves for allowing other peoples’ lives to be ruined. By Act 3 and 4 Hale has realised what is going on in Salem and tries his hardest to right his wrongs, so he is still doing the right thing, and he deeply regrets his actions even though it was not his fault. The difference there of Hale doing what is right and Parris doing what is easy is the reason why one is admirable, yet the other is despisable.