Character analysis of Reverend Parris from the novel "The Crucible".

Essay by inariHigh School, 11th grade May 2003

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If it were not for the self-seeking nature present in Salem, the infamous witch trials of 1692 would not have taken place. Most villagers were interested in themselves and none other. One such character is Reverend Parris from the historical play The Crucible, which concerns these Salem witch trials. He is only interested in his good name. In the beginning of the play, this conceit leads Reverend Parris to support the court's false judgements in order to preserve his reputation, but as the play progresses he begins to question the court for the same reason. This conceit also leads him to suppress obvious evidence that undermines the court or himself. These actions help the court become stronger, and prevent others from questioning the court's authority. Reverend Samuel Parris plays a large role in The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, and the decisions he makes, for his own well-being, bring harm to others.

Reverend Parris' only concern is the preservation of his good status within the town of Salem. When he discovers his own daughter, Betty, and niece, Abigail Williams, dancing secretly in the woods, he knows it will look bad for him, especially since he is minister. He tells Abigail, "I have fought here three long years to bend these stiff necked people to me, just now when some good respect is rising for me in the parish, you compromise my very character." (pg.11) Parris has fought long and hard to earn himself respect in the town, and he doesn't want Abigail's actions to undermine his achieved dignity. Later when Thomas Putnam looks to unnatural causes as to why Parris' Betty does not wake, Parris asks, "In my house? In my house, Thomas? They will topple me with this." (pg.16) Parris knows that if his "own household is discovered...