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From the opening of the Act, the primary concern that dominates Parris is how he will be perceived in the community as a result of what has happened. Consider the first words that Parris speaks: "Out of here! Out of my sight!" When Tituba asks if Betty will be alright, Parris recoils and does not want to be seen in such a state. He demands that she leave his sight. Yet, he is more insistent that he does not want to be seen in the way he is, thus representing his primary concern. Parris prays to God to extricate him from this situation because he is afraid of how public perception will impact his standing in the community.
When confronted with the rumors in the town, the primary concern of Parris' perception becomes evident to all when he responds with anger to Abigail: "And what shall I say to them? That my daughter and my niece I discovered dancing like heathen in the forest?" For Parris, this becomes the embodiment of his primary concern. What will people say about what happened? When Parris speaks of his "many enemies," it becomes clear that his concern is how others will see him and use this information against him: "There is a faction that is sworn to drive me from my pulpit." For Parris, this becomes his primary concern. His need to keep his power drives him to embracing anything that will sustain it and grow it through consolidation. When it becomes clear through Putnam's suggestion and Abigail's encouragement that Parris can spin this into a positive, his primary concern is met and he is able to function with more power as the hysteria and emotional contagion in Salem grow.
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