How does Parris feel about his parishioners?

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Parris is highly suspicious of a section of his parishioners. He sees them as his enemies, and he is afraid that they are out to ruin him. Parris sees the event in the forest as an opportunity for his “enemies” to destroy his ministry, and he is not ready to...

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Parris is highly suspicious of a section of his parishioners. He sees them as his enemies, and he is afraid that they are out to ruin him. Parris sees the event in the forest as an opportunity for his “enemies” to destroy his ministry, and he is not ready to face them with the truth. Parris is not sincere with his parishioners, and all he is concerned about is his status and station as a minister.

Parris: Now look you, child, your punishment will come in its time. But if you trafficked with spirits in the forest I must know it now, for surely my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it.

Parris is unhappy with his parishioners because he believes that they are not providing him with the necessary supplies for his livelihood. However, his accusations confirm that he is selfish and does not care about his parishioners.  He believes that they do not respect him and that they are subjecting him to poverty.

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Parris is shown to lack a genuine and sincere affect towards his parishoners.  Part of this might be due to the fact that Parris lacks a genuine and sincere affect towards anyone.  He cannot show this to anyone, including his parishioners.  Parris is so insecure that everything, in his mind, is a reflection of how much he is loved and respected.  Recall that at the start of the drama, Parris is afraid to speak of witchcraft because he is afraid of how others would look at him as the head minister.  It is only after some cajoling and thought that Parris recognizes that developing and stirring the fear of witchcraft amongst the townspeople would actually help to increase his stock as the town minister.  Parris is opposed to Proctor because he sees him as a threat.  There is little in way of openness and a sense of forthcoming in Parris.  It is here where his attitude towards his parishioners is most evident.  He shows care towards them, so long as they can help him consolidate his power and not pose a threat to his stature in the town.  Outside of this, Parris is incapable of showing anything that displays love, compassion, and a sense of Christian righteousness because he lacks these traits in his own sense of person.

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Reverend Parris feels a lot of disdain for his parishioners in The Crucible.  He sees them as the means to an end.  He wants to be known as a popular man of God and wants them to show their appreciation by building him a new church with fancy goblets and furnishings.  The congregation, however, doesn't feel that the church needs material things to be close to God. Reverend Parris also doesn't feel that they pay him enough as the town minister.

Reverend Parris also fears his congregation especially when whispers of witch craft knock on his door.  He knows that he can lose everything if Abigail, his niece, comes under attack for her lying and promiscuous behavior. He would probably be run out of town for her lack of faith, something he should have controlled.  When Betty Parris starts acting strangely after sneaking out to the woods with Abigail, Tituba, and the other girls, he especially becomes worried. It is because of his fear that he starts accusing Tituba forcing her to confess, and therefore, taking the "heat" off of him.  

Parris is hypocritical and not very God-like.  He is selfish and out for himself only.   Power and prestige is more important to him than the souls of his parishioners.

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