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HALE: Aye, we’ll discuss it. To all. Now mark me, if the Devil is in her you will witness some frightful wonders in this room, so please to keep your wits about you. Mr. Putnam, stand close in case she flies. - Now, Betty, dear, will you sit up? Putnam comes in closer, ready-handed. Hale sits Betty up, but she hangs limp in his hands. Hmmm. He observes her carefully. The others watch breathlessly. Can you hear me? I am John Hale, minister of Beverly. I have come to help you, dear. Do you remember my two little girls in Beverly? She does not stir in his hands.
PARRIS, in fright: How can it be the Devil? Why would he choose my house to strike? We have all manner of licentious people in the village!
HALE: What victory would the Devil have to win a soul already bad? It is the best the Devil wants, and who is better than the minister? (I.374-376)
Hale prepares to confront evil but nothing happens. He seems to think that the appearance of witch-craft will be obvious to everyone. Then they discuss how the Devil aims to corrupt the innocent and frame the good.
HALE, with a tasty love of intellectual pursuit: Here is all the invisible world, caught, defined, and calculated. In these books the Devil stands stripped of all his brute disguises. Here are all your familiar spirits-your incubi and succubi; your witches that go by land, by air, and by sea; your wizards of the night and of the day. Have no fear now-we shall find him out and I mean to crush him utterly if he has shown his face! (I.355)
The Reverend Hale intellectualizes evil, and the supernatural – suggesting he won’t be properly prepared to face it in real life, as opposed to books.
REBECCA: Pray, John, be calm. Pause. He defers to her. Mr. Parris, I think you'd best send Reverend Hale back as soon as he come. This will set us all to arguin' again in the society, and we thought to have peace this year. I think we ought rely on the doctor now, and good prayer.
MRS. PUTNAM: Rebecca, the doctor's baffled!
REBECCA: If so he is, then let us go to God for the cause of it. There is prodigious danger in the seeking of loose spirits. I fear it, I fear it. Let us rather blame ourselves and-
PUTNAM: How may we blame ourselves? I am one of nine sons; the Putnam seed have peopled this province. And yet I have but one child left of eight-and now she shrivels!
REBECCA: I cannot fathom that.
MRS. PUTNAM, with a growing edge of sarcasm: But I must! You think it God's work you should never lose a child, nor grandchild either, and I bury all but one? There are wheels within wheels in this village, and fires within fires!
PUTNAM, to Parris: When Reverend Hale comes, you should proceed to look for signs of witchcraft here. (I.246-252)
Rebecca Nurse suggests that they look inside themselves for answers to their problems, rather than blaming supernatural forces, but the Putnams are bent on finding justice and they see the supernatural as perhaps the only source of those answers. Nonetheless, it is likely that Mrs. Putnam’s motives are more pure than those of her husbands, who seems mostly interested in aquiring land.