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Cowards Never Prevail Essay, Research Paper

Cowards Never Prevail

Overconfidence is never a praised attribute. It leads to pride, which does not please the public and add to credibility. In The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, Reverend Hale is portrayed very overconfident at first, although his assurance seems to waver as the plot progresses. Hale is in an internal conflict with himself; he is debating whether to do what he is sent to do, listen to Danforth, or follow his own conscience and denounce these preceding as unjust. At times Hale appears to be a coward, but in the end it is evident that Reverend Hale is a Godly man striving to help others in their times of need.

In the beginning, Reverend Hale is sure about his belief that there are witches and feels that he is carrying out the desires of God himself and helping innocent people. He is a profoundly religious man who was insistent in his pursuit for the devil. Originally, Hale believed that there was witchcraft in Salem, and he believed that he could drive it out. To the reader, Reverend Hale seems very confident and sure of his authority in the matter. He is renowned for his knowledge of witchcraft, and is happy to help those in Salem. Reverend Hale makes a wise observation in stating that if there is any problem associated with the Devil that he would be able to fix it since a minister is stronger than the Devil.

Although ultimately Hale proved himself to be an admirable man, he may have taken on this mission for ulterior notions. Before Salem, Reverend Hale was made famous for saving a witch who belonged to his parish and this is the reason Reverend Parris asked for his help. Reverend Hale seems to revel in the publicity and strives to attain more of it. He at first feels that Salem is privileged to have him aid them in their witch-hunt, but soon discovers that he got himself involved with a totally different predicament. As the play develops, Hale witnesses sincere and respectable townspeople being sentenced and hung. He learns that what is being done is iniquitous and this begins his inner turmoil. With scrutiny, he looks at himself and tries to figure out which way to go; he wonders whether to let Danforth make the decision, or speak his conscience and help the others.

Futhermore, Reverend Hale goes on to insist that the girls are lying and he made a terrible mistake. I come to do the devils work. I come to counsel Christians they should belie themselves . . . can you not see the blood on my head? (131). Hale is at first being sarcastic, but then truly stating that he believes this is partially his fault. Reverend Hale feels that he may have been able to prevent this, but he had not acted soon enough. In repentance for this, Reverend Hale attempts to save the lives he helped condemn. He preaches perjury to the people, even though this is also against their religion. Although it appears that he is advising them to go against God, he is in actually helping the condemned. Reverend Hale knows and understands that God will forgive them if they confess to witchcraft ad lie to save their own lives. Hale finally realizes that Abigail is the one who should be condemned for lying and murdering many of the towns people; I believe him! This girl has always struck me false! (114)

Reverend Hale is indeed a righteous man attempting to repent for his sins. He did not realize that he was helping to murder innocent people towards the beginnings of the trials, and tries to make up for this. He decides to follow his conscience instead of Danforth, which can be thought of as a wise decision or not. Though his attempt to save John Proctor failed, his intentions were good as he struggled to be brave and help the same people who he had formerly sentenced to death.