The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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What does Parris want in act one of "The Crucible"?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Most of all, Parris wants respect, reverence, admiration and acceptance.  Parris moved to Salem from the Barbados, and won the election for minister in a rather heated and divided election.  So, there are quite a few people that were not happy that he won, and he feels that since that time, there "is a faction that is sworn to drive me from my pulpit."  He feels like there are groups of people in the town that are forming coalitions against him, with the aim of ousting him from his position.  That is why it is so upsetting to him that his daughter and niece were caught doing forbidden things in the forest--that could ruin his reputation and give his enemies fodder to use in getting rid of him as minister.

In addition to feeling slighted and hated in the town, Parris feels like his skills are being underappreciated.  He states that he is "a graduate of Harvard" who left a thriving business in Barbados to come out here, and should receive some respect for that.  One area that he is being jilted in is in salary--when informed that 6 pounds of his 66 pounds a year should be going to firewood, he is upset, because he wants the entire salary for his own discretion, and for firewood to just appear.  He also wants the mortgage to the churchouse so that it can be his, and golden candlesticks instead of pewter ones.

All in all, these complaints run along a common theme of Parris feeling like he deserves more respect and admiration than he is getting.  He feels insecure and paranoid, constantly fought against, and underappreciated as a whole. He wants respect, admiration, reverence and total compliance from the townspeople, and all of his complaints are issued along that vein, because of his wounded ego. I hope that those thoughts help; good luck!

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