The Crucible Act 1 Notable Characters
Negative initial impression from Miller’s introductory commentaries: “In history he cut a villainous path, and there is very little good to be said for him”
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…”
Evidently in conflict with others in the village.
Self-absorbed character, we can see this when Betty (his daughter) has been accused of being associated with witchcraft he worries about what that means for his name in the village, not so much about her wellbeing.
He has a very short temper; when Tituba (the slave) asks the reverend about Betty he instantly shouts at her to leave.
Extremely defensive of himself since 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 him: notably John Proctor whom he does not see eye to eye with.
Hale is highly respected and Parris knows that it is a good idea to have him on his side. Therefore, he sucks up to him. “[delighted] Mr Hale! Oh! It’s good to see you again!.”
Feels as if he is superior to everyone else and is not given 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”
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 Ecclesiastes of all churches.
Relies on books and study/ enters carrying “half a dozen heavy books” as he lacks real practice or experience.
Miller informs us that ‘Reverend Hale conceives of himself much as a young doctor on his first call. His painfully acquired armoury of symptoms, catchwords, and diagnostic procedures are now to be put to good use at last.’
Quick to respond to others / in command.
Acts kindly towards all, to create a good impression and win them over. “But I suppose you look as such a good soul should.”
Refers heavily to his books: first appears on stage ‘loaded down with half a dozen heavy books’ – a potent symbol of his character, also can be seen as a burden on him.
Hale suggests / puts into Tituba’s head ideas and people’s names in order to get results.