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Colonists settling in New England struggled with economic hardships. Even those who were affluent in England had difficulty in the new world because of the harsh climate and the adjustment to life in a new community. Parris was influential as a clergyman, but he felt he should be better compensated financially, and expected the village to support him in exchange for his services. Because he is a man of God, such expectations could be seen as greedy or selfish, inappropriate for a minister. The fact that he equated his job with entitlement to monetary compensation hints that his spiritual integrity might not be what it should. This makes his character suspect almost from the beginning of the play, and explains why his daughter is the center of negative attention when she displays behavior that others associate with witchcraft.
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