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In The Crucible, why is Reverend Parris so terrified by the events in Salem?

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shunterea126 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 13, 2011 at 12:08 AM via web

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In The Crucible, why is Reverend Parris so terrified by the events in Salem?

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 13, 2011 at 7:22 AM (Answer #1)

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In The Crucible, Reverend Parris fears that his congregation is out to get him.  Because his appointment was disputed by some, namely the Putnams (they supported another candidate), and reviled by John Proctor (who won't attend because he feels Parris is a materialist who uses scare tactics in his sermons), Parris suffers from paranoia.  Parris is insecure in his public reputation, and he should be: he expresses no discernible charity or love of others.

Mainly though, Parris is afraid that he will be implicated in the witchcraft accusations and scapegoating.  After all, it is his daughter, Better, who is vexed.  His slave from Barbados, Tituba, is implicated by his niece Abigail Williams.  So, three of the four primary practitioners of supposed witchcraft in the woods all live under Parris' roof.

At first, Parris wants a medical explanation for his daughter's illness.  But, after the doctor cannot find a cause, Parris goes along with Hale's suspicions and Abigail's scapegoating of Tituba.  In fact, Parris is overly cruel to Tituba in order to deflect blame for bringing a tribal voodoo practitioner to Salem.

 

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