How would you compare the characters of John Proctor and Rev Parris in The Crucible?Are both characters affected by jealousy, reputation and resentment?

2 Answers

missy575's profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This is a great question because one has an upstanding character (Proctor) wherein the other really should have the stronger character (Parris).

Both are affected by jealousy but differently. Abigail is jealous of Elizabeth, Proctor's wife. Abigail would like to be with Proctor, so he is the instrument of her jealousy. Parris, on the other hand, suffers from comparison to other ministers and would like to be presented well in the eyes of the people, which leads to reputation.

Parris has a complex, from prior to the story to the end, he feels like people are always blaming him. I think the reason he works so hard to help the magistrates is because he doesn't want to be accused of witchcraft himself. His defense of what happened to his daughter and the salary he thinks he deserves contributes to this.

Proctor is worried about his reputation afore God... Parris should be but he cares about people's thoughts. Proctor doesn't.

Proctor is not resentful, Parris is. You see this in the end. Proctor and his wife work out their differences as she confesses her pushing him to lechery (cheating). Neither of them hold this against each other. Parris hangs onto long-standing judgments he thinks people have of him but they are not necessarily real.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In my opinion, the character of Rev. Parris is definitely one who has all of those characteristics.  He is jealous of other people who have more power.  He resents those who do not give him what he thinks he deserves (power, the ability to own the house he lives in, free wood, etc).  He is very worried about having his reputation ruined (like by Better being involved with witches.

To me, Proctor does not have any of these.  He is affected by Abby being jealous, but he himself is not jealous.  His main thing, to me, is guilt.  He feels guilty for his affair with Abby.