The real life of Reverend Hale

By Zachary DeRepentigny

In The Crucible Reverend Hale is correctly depicted as a reverend from the town of Beverly, but John Hales story goes deeper than that. Hale was born in the year 1936 to the blacksmith Robert Hale. It was only 12 years later that Hale, now 12 would witness Massachusetts' first execution of an accused witch, Margaret Jones. In 1657 Hale earned a Theology degree at Harvard and after graduation worked as a teacher and tutor. Later, in 1667 Hale became the first official pastor at the church of Beverly, also being rewarded 200 acres of land on what has become Hale Street. Hale's first wife, Rebecca Byles died in 1683, and only a year later Hale married his second and final wife Sarah Noyes. Hale then went on to become a chaplain for the militia during the campaign to take the fortress of Louisburg in Canada.(HistoryOfMassachusetts) Reverend Hale arrives in Salem in 1692, following both the book and real life after being requested to come by Reverend Parris, but instead of being asked to see Betty specifically, Parris actually asked him to observe the group of girls who claimed to be tormented by spirits. At first Hale was aggressive in his duty to find whoever was responsible, personally calling for the people to do so, but just as the book said, Reverend Hale's faith in the trials waned as more and more people were jailed or hung. Ironically, Reverend Hale's own wife, Sarah was accused of witchcraft but Governor Phipps forbade any further arrests so his wife was spared. After the events of the Salem Witch Trials ended, Hale's wife died and he began writing a book, "A Modest Inquiry into The Nature of Witchcraft" the general purpose of this book was to question the legal proceedings and religion principles of witch hunts and said that the fear of witchcraft was so great that it impaired the judgments of the people of Salem, Hale's book never suggests that witches do not exist and it was published in 1702, after Hale's death. Hale died at the age of 64 in the year 1700 and he was buried at the Abbott Street Burial Ground in Beverly, his farm later became a museum called "The John Hale House", the following is a section from Hale's book.(HistoryOfMassachusetts)

“Such was the darkness of that day, the tortures and lamentations of the afflicted, and the power of former presidents, that we walked in the clouds, and could not see our way. And we have most cause to be humbled for error on that hand, which cannot be retrieved. So that we must beseech the Lord, that if any innocent blood hath been shed, in the hour of temptation, the Lord will not lay it to our charge, but be merciful to his people whom he hath redeemed. And that in the day when he shall visit, he will not visit this sin upon our land, but blot it out, and wash it away with with the blood of Jesus Christ.”

Works Cited

“The Salem Witch Trials: A Reference Guide”; K. David Goss; 2008

“Modest Inquiry Into Nature of Witchcraft”; John Hale; 1702

Reverend Hale Character Analysis Project