What role does Parris play in the community?

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Samuel Parris is a reverend and the leader of the church in Salem. He is also the uncle to Abigail, one of the key players in the conspiracy against some members of the Salem community. Although Parris is at first not convinced that the issue of witchcraft is present in Salem, he is convinced by Mrs. Putnam. Parris falls into the trap because he is also hoping to shift attention from himself, since his daughter is among those rumored to have been bewitched after participating in some ungodly event with other girls in the forest.

Although Parris is expected to consult the local authorities on the matter, he is quick to call Reverend Hale to focus on the witchcraft issue. Parris also takes the witch hunt as an opportunity to dismantle the faction led by Proctor that opposes him. Parris plays a key role in condemning many innocent people, and it is only when his niece robs him and runs away that he tries to make amends for a situation that had spiraled out of control.

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Parris is the town minister in Salem.  Although he is not well liked by many members of the community -- Giles Corey and John Proctor, among others -- this is his role.  John, for example, feels that Parris places too much emphasis on material objects, like the golden candlesticks on the altar and even his own income, and he does not "see the light of God" in Parris.  Parris also has a daughter, Betty, and he has taken in his niece, Abigail Williams, whose parents were killed during an Indian raid on her home.  Parris's job is to be the community's spiritual leader, to lead religious services included officiating at weddings and funerals, christening children, and the like.  Although his role is primarily spiritual, it becomes evident fairly quickly that his role is politically charged as well.

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