By the end of the drama, what is the significance of Parris' change?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that it is highly significant that Parris ends up becoming so fundamentally different by the end of the drama.  From the confidence and sense of entitlement that he shows at the start, he becomes a very timid and scared individual.  This reflects how, to a great extent, the horror that has become Salem knows no boundaries, as it begins to choke the life out of those who initiated it and benefited from it.  Parris' change by the end of the drama comes from having the exclusion and targeting that he himself was a part of.  When he speaks of the death threats he has received as well as how other towns like Andover have recently responded to the trials, it has a destabilizing effect on him.  His physical and emotional change reflects how the power of politics can be sweeping.  Those who cleave to political power can become kings at one instant and then fall under its oppressive heels as they become paupers the next.  Miller makes it clear that those who live by political dehumanization will invariably suffer greatly from it.  This is not done in a moralistic sense.  It is not an issue of morality that makes Parris change.  Rather, it is a sweeping condition of political reality, something that Parris did not expect to experience, but whose frailty was finally revealed upon doing so.