The Crucible - Act 1 characters

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Act 1 - Reverend Parris & Reverend Hale

These two characters represent religious authority within the play; Parris within the town of Salem (although he has little support and is continually in conflict with his congregation); Hale, an outsider from Beverley whose reputation and knowledge is clearly respected.

Reverend Parris

Negative impression from Miller’s introductory commentaries: “In history he cut a villainous path, and there is very little good to be said for him”

He feels hard done by no matter what he does or where he goes. Miller’s commentary proves this: “He believe he was being persecuted wherever he went…”

Seems to be in conflict with everyone in the village

He is a very self-absorbed character as when Betty (his daughter) has been accused of being bewitched he worries about what that means for his name in the village.

He has a very short fuse in terms of his temper. When Tituba (the slave) asks the reverend about Betty he doesn’t give her one moment before he shouts at her to leave.

He is extremely defensive of himself as he is aware that any accusations of witchery will blacken his name in the village. “[his eyes going wide open] No-No. There be no unnatural cause here.”

Doesn’t like for people to disagree with or challenge him: he and Proctor don’t see eye to eye.

Hale is a highly respected man and Parris knows that it is a good idea to have him on his side. Therefore, Parris tries to keep Hale on his side. “[delighted] Mr Hale! Oh! It’s good to see you again!.”

Feels as if he is superior to everyone else and is not accorded the respect he feels he deserves:“I am not some preaching farmer with a book under my arm; I am a graduate of Harvard College”

He feels he is deserving of more which is proven when he is arguing to Proctor about Firewood. He states that his contract should allow him firewood but he complains he must get the firewood himself. However his salary allows him money for buying wood but he still feels deserving of more. He also demanded the rights to his house which should be owned by the community.

Reverend John Hale

P26 (rational, manipulative, inquisitive and authoritative)

Ironically responsible for the witch hunt (leading questions) starts the name calling by putting suggestions into people’s subconscious.

Miller describes him as “Nearing forty, tight-skinned, eager-eyed, and intellectual”

He is afraid of spirits but is not afraid to say there is not an evil presence. (Irrational)

He believes he has had contact with the Devil.

Ironically assures everyone: ‘We cannot look to superstition in this. The Devil is precise’ – superstition is exactly what allows events to proceed.

His studying and practice can now be put into practice and good use.

His goal is light, goodness and its preservation.

Relates himself to kings, philosophers, scientist and ecclesiast of all churches.

Relies on books and study/ enters carrying “half a dozen heavy


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