Does Rev. Parris try to help Proctor because he thought he was innocent?Does Rev. Parris try to help Proctor because he thought he was innocent?
It would be nice to think this. It would be nice to see Parris "see the light" and help Proctor out because he was a good man and because Proctor was innocent. Yet, I don't think that this is the case. Parris' is essentially emotionally discombobulated at the opening of the Fourth Act. The madness that we see in Tituba and Sarah Goode the start of the act is reflected in Parris as the first scene continues. Rebellions in Andover, Abigail's disappearance and stealing of Parris' money, and the understanding that his own life had been threatened have all played their role in Parris' emotionally fragmented state. His desire to help Proctor is motivated by his own self interest. Parris thinks that a stay of execution or some type of delay would stem some of the anger that the Salem public is venting towards those in the position of power, and in particular, him. Parris is chained to public perception and public opinion. Parris only wishes to help Proctor in delaying the court's judgment upon him in calculating as to how it would help him and his low public opinion. In the end, Parris really doesn't do much to go against public opinion, except for a small voice to delay the execution, something that is not voiced with much in way of effective zeal in the first place.