What is the relevance of the concerns that Reverend Parris has about Betty’s affiliction in The Crucible?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most relevant elements about Parris' concerns is how he clearly senses that his daughters and her affiliations were up to no good.  From the earliest of moments in the drama, he senses that Betty's affliction and affiliation are the result of practicing witchcraft.  He understands that the company Betty is keeping and the things they are doing are both "punishable by death" and will reflect poorly on his own standing.  These concerns are significant and relevant for a couple of reasons.  The first reason is that Parris is constantly concerned about how he is being perceived in Salem.  This means that he understands that what Betty and the girls have been doing will invariably reflect upon him.  Parris understands that his own perception in Salem is directly impacted by what Betty has been doing and with whom she is spending her time.  At the same time, Parris knows that as the town minister, he will not be able to withstand the notion of him being the father to someone presumed to carry out witchcraft.  It is for these reasons that Parris is concerned.  These reasons also help to reflect the significance of how Parris knows for the start that the witch hunt is more to deflect potential criticism for him than anything else.