How does Parris feel about his parishioners?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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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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thetall | (Level 3) Educator

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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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