John Proctor is opposed to Reverend Parris's decision to send for Reverend Hale from Beverly to conduct an investigation into witchcraft and is aware that Parris is simply trying to bolster his own authority by doing so. Proctor feels that Parris is overstepping his authority and neglecting the community's thoughts regarding the present situation. Proctor has never liked Reverend Parris and understands that he is a superficial man who is more concerned with status and authority than the souls of the villagers. He verbally expresses his displeasure with Reverend Parris in act one by saying that he only preaches hellfire and damnation. As a sinner, Proctor does not want to be constantly reminded of the consequences of his transgressions, and Parris's sermons only make him feel guilty. Proctor also feels that Parris lacks compassion, mercy, and grace.
In addition to solely preaching about hellfire and damnation, Proctor is concerned with Reverend Parris's desire to increase his salary and own the deed to his home. Proctor is disgusted that Parris is so worried about wealth and says that he would gladly join a faction opposing the minister. He recognizes that Parris is motivated by money and not faithfulness. Proctor also feels that Parris lacks humility and selflessness. Later in the play, Proctor elaborates on Parris's desire to have golden candlesticks, which illustrates his greedy, superficial nature. In conclusion, John Proctor dislikes Reverend Parris and views him as a selfish, greedy man.
John Proctor does not support Reverend Parris and views him as a selfish, materialistic individual who leads his congregation through fear by preaching nothing but hellfire and damnation. In act 1, John Proctor travels to Salem and visits Parris's daughter, Betty, who suffers from a mysterious illness. Once Proctor arrives, he discovers that Parris has called for Reverend Hale from Beverly to investigate possible supernatural forces throughout Salem. Proctor is critical of Parris's decision and believes that they should have voted before calling upon Reverend Hale to investigate witchcraft. When Mr. Putnam criticizes John for not attending church, John responds by saying,
I have trouble enough without I come five mile to hear him preach only hellfire and bloody damnation. Take it to heart, Mr. Parris. There are many others who stay away from church these days because you hardly ever mention God anymore.
John believes that Reverend Parris is a callous, insensitive man who does not appropriately lead his people or instill hope in the congregation. Reverend Parris then begins to complain about his salary, and John says,
Mr. Parris, you are the first minister ever did demand the deed to this house.
Proctor goes on to say that at the last meeting, Parris spoke so long about mortgages and deeds that he thought he was at an auction. Proctor recognizes that Reverend Parris is a superficial hypocrite who is materialistic and selfish. Proctor does not see the light of God in Reverend Parris and refuses to allow him to baptize his children. Proctor understands that Parris's primary goal is to remain in a position of authority at all costs and that he is not concerned about others. Proctor vehemently opposes Reverend Parris, and his negative feelings toward him continue to grow as the play progresses.
John Proctor sees through Reverend Parris right from the start. He knows that, for Parris, the witch-craze is just a means to an end, a way of bolstering his power and status among the people of the town. This explains why he opposes Parris's decision to send for Reverend Hale to investigate alleged cases of witchcraft. He senses straight away that the whole judicial process will have more to do with maintaining Parris's grip on power than getting at the truth of things. Parris may preach hellfire and damnation, but Proctor sees him for the worldly hypocrite that he really is. He's so distrustful of Parris that he even refuses to have his child baptized by him. Proctor's instincts turn out to be entirely correct. Unfortunately for him, no one else appears able to see what's right in front of them.
Proctor sees through Parris' claims of piety and does not consider him an authority nor a leader.
Proctor despises Parris' attempts to rule by fear of Hell. When Putnam accuses Proctor not having moral authority because he does not regularly attend Sabbath meetings, Proctor replies to both Parris and Proctor. He scornfully says, " I have trouble enough without I come five mile to hear him preach only hellfire and bloody damnation. Take it to heart, Mr. Parris. There are many others who stay away from church these days because you hardly ever mention God anymore."
He also questions his motivations as to money rather than faithfulness. When Parris incredulously asks if he should not even be given a home to live in, Proctor responds, "To live in, yes. But to ask ownership is like you shall own the meeting house itself; the last meeting I were at you spoke so long on deeds and mortgages I thought it were an auction."
Though others have their doubts and suspicions about Parris, Proctor alone is man enough to voice them.