In Act One of The Crucible, what is Parris’ concern about the reputation of Abigail?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Parris' primary concern for Abigail's reputation is how insinuations about her will impact him.  Parris presents himself as more of a political adviser in the first scene of the first act.  There is little in way of guidance or advice.  Rather, he is looking for understanding why Abigail was dismissed so that he can "spin it" in the event it comes back to him.  Parris' interrogation of Abigail is not one out of nurturing, or a way in which there is a sense of compassion or concern.  Rather, his concern for Abigail's reputation is how it will impact him.  At the point where he speaks with Abigail, Parris is concerned with how others are going to perceive him in Salem.  The discovery of the girls' actions in the forest are coupled with Abigail's own dismissal from the Proctors' service, and this causes Parris great concern with trying to understand how to "spin" these particular events along with the potential for witchcraft.  In this, Parris' concern was more for his own perception and his credibility, as opposed to anything for Abigail.