According to Wade Bradford of About.com, in the second act of "The Crucible", John Proctor tells Reverend Hale that he believes many of the people accusing others of witchcraft are only doing so out of fear that they themselves will be accused of witchcraft. He also discusses his suspicions about Reverend Parris, and states that the reason he doesn't go to church is because he cannot bear Parris's hypocrisy.
Proctor's revelation marks a turning point in Hale's character. In the first act, Hale is shown to be a passionate witch hunter proud of his skill in rooting out the devil. This discussion, however, brings all of Hale's own doubts to the forefront, and as the play continues, he becomes increasingly dubious that those bringing accusations of witchcraft were not dissembling.
"The Crucible", a fictionalized account of the Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692, was written by playwright Arthur Miller in 1953 as an allegory of McCarthyism. In his play, Miller focuses on the Proctors, a relatively well-to-do family living on the southern borders of Salem. Both in the play and in history, John Proctor, the tragic hero, was hung as a witch. There is no historical evidence that the real John Proctor was engaged in a love affair with anyone. Elizabeth Proctor, his wife, was among the first people accused of witchcraft, but she was spared from hanging because she was pregnant.