How is Parris a bad minister in "The Crucible"?

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amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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John Proctor also mentions that Parris continually harped on having golden candlesticks to replace the pewter ones.  Parris is obsessed with money and appearances (hypocrisy in the church is a VERY old subject...just take a look at Chaucer's Canterbury Tales).  This is one reason why Proctor says he stopped regularly attending church.  Why does the church/Parris need gold candlesticks when pewter ones work just as well?

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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I don't know what the real-life Samuel Parris was like, but the character in Miller's play is the opposite of what a minister should be. The term "minister" means "to take care of" or "to tend to," to minister to someone. Parris ministers only to himself and his friends. He loves money too much, an example of which is his argument that payment for his firewood should not come out of his salary. He is concerned about appearances. When he discovers that Abigail has run off with all his money, he doesn't worry about her welfare; all he cares about is what people will think of him. John Proctor refuses to go to church, not because he has lost faith in God, but because he does not care for the preacher.

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jeff-hauge's profile pic

jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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The dramatic version of Parris shows him to be personally stilted and politically inept. He is incapable of relating with children, especially those in his own home. He is paranoid about sects with hidden agendas to oust him but is lacking the discernment to identify the Putnams as the true threat around him. He apparently preaches about money and funding of his church instead of the salvation of souls.


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