What is Parris's feeling towards the congregation in The Crucible?

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Parris isn't exactly the image of a small-town minister that humbly shepherds the flock that is his congregation. Parris simply does not appear to love the members of his congregation. He sees them as a part of his job that he is struggling to hold on to, and he sees the members of his church as a means to an end. This is probably why John Proctor is able to confidently state that he doesn't see the light of God in Reverend Parris.

I like it not that Mr. Parris should lay his hand upon my baby. I see no light of God in that man. I’ll not conceal it.

Proctor is a devoted member of the church, and he has proven that by helping to build the very church that Parris now occupies; however, Parris seems to be money-focused, materialistic, and overly concerned about appearances. That's why he preaches about golden candlesticks rather than about the spiritual well-being of his congregation.

Since we built the church there were pewter candle-sticks upon the altar; Francis Nurse made them, y’know, and a sweeter hand never touched the metal. But Parris came, and for twenty week he preach nothin’ but golden candlesticks until he had them. I labor the earth from dawn of day to blink of night, and I tell you true, when I look to heaven and see my money glaring at his elbows—it hurt my prayer, sir, it hurt my prayer. I think, sometimes, the man dreams cathedrals, not clapboard meetin’ houses.

Parris is astute enough to know that he hasn't earned the favor of every member; therefore, rather than working harder to win their favor through increased love, Parris views much of his congregation with fear. He worries about the faction that doesn't like him. He worries that they may gain enough power to push him out of the pulpit. He is so fearful of that group that Parris calls them his "enemies," and that is an odd thing to say about the fellow believers that he is supposed to care for.

But if you trafficked with spirits in the forest I must know it now, for surely my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it.


There is a faction that is sworn to drive me from my pulpit. Do you understand that?

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Reverend Parris fears his congregation and believes that there is a faction determined to remove him from his position of authority in Salem's community. In the opening scene of the play, Reverend Parris voices his concerns towards Abigail and reveals that he is worried that Betty's mysterious illness will be used as evidence for disgruntled citizens to remove him from office. Parris also refers to his congregation as "stiff-necked" people and is aware that he is not well-liked by certain community members. Reverend Parris's concern about his position of authority illustrates his selfish personality. Rather than solely focus on his daughter's well-being, Reverend Parris is more concerned about how his enemies will use witchcraft as an excuse to remove him from office. Overall, Reverend Parris has an antagonistic relationship with members of his congregation and fears that they will remove him from office. He is not sympathetic to their needs and is condescending towards them. Parris's main concern is increasing his salary and is not worried about helping his congregation attain salvation or become spiritually healthy.

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Parris views his role as minister as that of a job. He constantly reminds his congregation that he was in the business world before-money is still a great concern. He often seems dismissive and condescending of his congregation. He usually tries to conform in his actions to what will garner him the most respect and awe.

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Parris is very concerned about his standing in the community and realizes that his role as Minister is one of great power. He believes that some members of the community are out to destroy him and remove him from this position of power. Additionally, he believes that his standing as leader of the church warrants him numerous perks and advantages that his predecessors have not received. Essentially, he is extremely arrogant and power hungry and believes that everyone in the community should recognize his authority and not question anything that he says or does.

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