How does Paris contribute to John Proctor's death in The Crucible?

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

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Parris continues to Proctor's death in that it is his zeal against him that helps to convict him in the court proceedings.  Parris is so insecure about his position both in the church and in the community, that he lets his antagonism against Proctor influence his actions throughout the court proceedings.  In asserting that Proctor has a "larger agenda," he helps to galvanize the opinion of Judges Danforth and Hathorne against him.  He also does much to help with the destabilization of Mary Warren, forcing Proctor to have to confess to his affair with Abigail and helping to throw him into incarceration.  When Mary accuses Proctor of being the "Devil's man," when she obviously has lost her sense of reality, Parris is one of the first to affirm her with his "Praise God" comment, helping to seal Proctor's fate.  When Proctor recognizes his defeat with his "God is dead" comment, Parris uses this as evidence against him.  While Proctor is in jail, Parris does not speak out against his imprisonment, even though he fully understands that the charges of witchcraft were ludicrous as he finds that Abigail and Mercy have left and stolen his money.  Instead of taking this moment to recognize wrong and spare the lives of those accused, Parris manipulates it into a moment where Hale can garner confessions and "save face."  In this, Parris helps to contribute to John Proctor's death by wanting him to sign to a confession that is false, feeding into Proctor's desire to save his name by asking for death instead.

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