In "The Crucible" how does Parris exhibit self-centeredness when he relates Abigail's disappearance to Hathorne and Danforth?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Parris has a couple selfish concerns about Abby's disappearance.  The first is money.  Abby broke into his strongbox and stole 31 pounds.  Parris' reaction to this: "I am penniless," and then Miller adds in the stage directions:  "He covers his face and sobs."  Parris doesn't weep when any one of his beloved congregation were supposedly in cahoots with Satah himself, or when people are hanged, or when his niece runs away.  But he sure weeps when his money is pilfered.  The second demonstration of selfishness is that he is worried that the people of Salem will rebel against him, and call him out for his role in the accusations. He fears Abby knew there was a rebellion is afoot, which is why she left.  And never mind that people would be saved from hanging if there were a rebellion, Parris fears that "there is danger for me.  I dare not step outside at night!"  So, his precious money and safety are threatened when Abby bails, and Parris comes whining to the judges, trying to find any way to protect himself.

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Parris concentrates his message on the fact that Abigail has stolen his money, and that he is losing the confidence of his congregation. He hardly mentions the consequences that Abigail's absence will have on ultimately finding the truth. By running away, she has basically left all justice to a court that, at this point, is more concerned with protecting itself than it is in finding the truth. Abigail did have feelings towards John and it is doubtful she would have allowed him to go to the gallows. She might have even confessed her adultery with John Proctor and shown she was a liar. That would have placed all evidence she had given in jeopardy and Proctor, Rebecca Nurse, Giles and Martha Corey may have lived.

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The Crucible

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