In The Crucible, how does Samuel Parris act towards children?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We are actually given a very thorough depiction of the Reverend Samuel Parris at the beginning of Act One by Arthur Miller. He builds up a very full picture - far fuller than the majority of playwrights give of their characters.

He was a widower with no interest in children, or talent with them. He regarded them as young adults, and until this strange crisis he, like the rest of Salem, never conceived that the children were anything but thankful for being permitted to walk straight, eyes slightly lowered, arms at the sides, and mouths shut until bidden to speak.

This is an impression that is confirmed as we begin to see the Reverend Parris and how he interacts with the group of girls who have been involved in witchcraft - of which his daughter, Betty Parris, is one. It also explains to some extent the way that he was taken in so easily by the girls and Abigail, because he never expected them to lie and support each other in deception to such a great extent.

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The Crucible

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