As the play opens Rev. Parris is questioning his niece. What is he questioning her about and what exactly is his real concern?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Reverand Parris is questioning Abigail about the girls in the forest and what they were doing.  He has seen them as he was walking about and heard the noise.  As he approached the woods, they ran, but he saw enough to know they were up to no good.  The woods have typically been a setting for stories where wildness and trickery occurred...dealings with the Devil and that sort of nonsense.

Abigail swears that nothing was going on, and that no one was naked or conjuring spirits.  She admits only to dancing--which is against the Puritan beliefs and law.  When Betty does not wake up for fear of the consequences, "witchcraft" is brought up in the community and Abigail's wheels begin turning in order to protect herself from the hangman's noose.  He has also brought up the talk in town about her good name and how it is tarnished because she led John Proctor away from his wife.

Reverand Parris' real concern is with his own repuatation.  He does not seem concerned with what exactly the girls were doing except where it concerns how the people in the community of Salem will look at him and his ability to influence his own neice and daughter with his spiritual education.  He admits that members of the community already plot against him and want to replace him with another minister.  He is in fear of losing his job.