End of act two
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By the end of act two, Hale begins to question much of the evidence and accusations being hulled around Salem. While the other characters remain fixed in their particular allegiances and beliefs, Hale demonstrates the debilitating effects of the witchcraft trials by the change in his character. When he reappears in the third act he has none of his old enthusiasm. Although he clings to his belief that proof of witchery can be found in Salem, Hale appears more and more tentative about the results. He demonstrates a strong feeling of guilt for his actions, as shown by his reliance on what he grasps as indisputable evidence. Like Pontius Pilate, to whom Proctor compares Hale, he wants to play only a passive role in the proceedings without any feeling of personal responsibility. Hale's growing disillusionment foreshadows his later repudiation of the court's actions.