Hale arrives when Rev. Parris sends for him after Betty Parris falls ill with a mysterious illness.
Hale cautions the people to be careful before assuming something is witchcraft. He tries a few tricks to see if there are evil spirits that might be afflicting Betty. This is when Abigail confesses that Tituba made her drink potions.
He calls Tituba and compels her to confess and provide the names of other villagers she saw with the Devil.
Hale arrives at the Proctors’s farm. He is unofficially going around to see the women who have been “mentioned” in court—Elizabeth, Martha, and Rebecca—who he thinks are unlikely to be witches.
Hale suspects something is wrong with the trials but is unwilling to condemn them, believing that innocent people have nothing to fear.
Hale shows up at the same time that Giles Corey, Francis Nurse, and John Proctor come with evidence to defend their wives. He urges Danforth to listen to them and points out that there is “prodigious fear” in the country of the courts.
Hale condemns the proceedings and leaves the court.
After a few months away and after searching his soul, Hale returns to encourage those condemned to death to confess. He doesn’t believe they are guilty, but he wants to save their lives. He has come to realize that the witchcraft trials were completely unwarranted, and he feels that their blood is on his hands.