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Throughout The Crucible, how does Reverend Parris help construct the theme of greed and...

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maddiewillson | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 27, 2013 at 10:31 AM via iOS

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Throughout The Crucible, how does Reverend Parris help construct the theme of greed and power converging in religion?

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

Posted May 27, 2013 at 1:09 PM (Answer #1)

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Parris is constructed as a weak character who must cling to the public perception of religion in order to substantiate his own power.  Greed is a reflection of this weakness.  This is evident from the very start of the drama.  Parris is more concerned with how his perception will be altered when it is revealed that his daughter and niece were out dancing in the woods after hours.  The notion of conjuring up accusations of the "devil's work" is where his greed for power becomes a part of his characterization.  He recognizes that being able to utilize public opinion under the guise of religious fervor is a way in which is own greed is satiated as his power is consolidated.  At the trials, Parris is able to demonstrate his own power and the greed for control as he centers his focus on chastising Proctor in both the legal court and in the court of public opinion.  Finally, Parris' greed for his own weakening stature is seen when he uses religion as a way to save himself.  In his insistence that Proctor's confession is made public and his lobbying for Proctor not being put to death, one sees how Parris uses religion for personal gain, to support his own greed for power.

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