In The Crucible, why is the issue of Parris's salary raised?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Parris' salary is brought up for two fundamental reasons.  The first is that his drop in salary is a reflection of how he has "sacrificed" in his role as minister in Salem.  Parris makes it very clear that he gave up his prosperous business in Barbados to work in Salem as town reverend.  Parris wishes to bring to light that his sacrifice is reflective of how much he suffers for the good of the town and is something that he thinks points to his "selfless" nature.  On another level, Parris' salary is something that he uses to show worth or value.  As a business man in Barbados, Parris uses wealth and salary to reflect how much he should be valued and how much worth he carries.  Miller has the discussion on Salem carry with it the undertones of how value and worth are seen in materialistic modes.  Parris is a part of this, something that was evident in his business experience. The challenge, of course, is that being a minister is something that ideally transcends materialism.  In raising this issue, Miller is subtly bringing out how hypocrisy is embedded with Parris' character, something that is brought out in the course of the drama.


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