Reverend John

Main motivation
To uphold the interests of the church; to rid the world of evil, of the Devil’s disciples.
Towards the end of the play, he strives to warn the judges of the corruption in the village
Main conflict
He is responsible for the hanging of many citizens. He has conflict with Danforth and Hathorn who refuse to believe Hale’s
revelation that the children are dishonest.
He has blood on his hands, as he has contributed to the sentencing of innocent people – with no evidence
Intellectual, religiously devoted, well respected, authoritative, believes in and attempts to promote justice and fairness
Effect on plot
Mediates disputes such as the witch hunts, acts as a lawyer.
Enters Salem to investigate the devil outbreak.
Responsible for the conviction and death of many innocent citizens.
“I denounce these proceedings. I quit this court”.
“Then nothing is left to stop the whole green world from burning”.
“The devil can never overcome a minister”.
“This girl has always struck me false”.
“There is blood on my head!”.
“I love to do the devil’s work”.
Role in the conflicts
Supposed to resolve conflict, yet his actions amplify the situation. As an expert in witchcraft, he is expected to rectify the
problems in the village. He attempts to convince the accused to confess.
Hale advocates the witch trials initially, before becoming aware of the abuse of power.
Reverend John Hale
  • Firm believer in the reality of evil and in the existence of the devil
  • Capable of kindness
  • Conscious of his authority and the need to administer it
  • Sense of duty
  • Authoritative in his administration of the court’s process and initially a believer in justice
  • Rejects superstition and uses his books to discover evidence of witchcraft
  • A contrast to characters like Thomas Putnam in that he is entirely without malice and only seeks to serve god – he reinforces the religious conflict by making Tituba confess
  • As innocent people are killed and imprisoned, he tries to resolve the conflict – insisting that Danforth waive the executions, allow Proctor a lawyer, accept Mary Warren’s evidence
  • His final act to resolve the conflict – imploring those who are about to be hanged to confess – even though he knows it would be lies