How does Reverend Parris' narcissism lead to his hypocrisy?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Narcissim can be described as the pathological expression of egoistic traits where the individual develops an inflated view of their character. The individual would also inflate their importance and may employ arrogance to put down others especially those they consider close competitors.

Reverend Parris held a belief that he was persecuted everywhere he went despite his efforts to usher people towards the light. In the story, he was only concerned about his position in the community and the respect that the people directed towards him. He knew the truth about Abigail’s false accusations but he insisted on the witch hunt, which saw the deaths of innocent individuals. He preached the good word but failed to direct the people towards the truth because his own reputation was at risk. In a clear act of hypocrisy he joined the persecutors in their selfish interests and played a major role in destroying the community.

Parris, studies her, then nods, half convinced: Abigail, I have sought here three long years to bend these stiff-necked people to me, and now, just now when some good respect is rising for me in the parish, you compromise my very character.