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Parris's attitude towards the children varies throughout the play. His first reaction to Betty's illness is extreme concern -- the expected response of a father to his daughter's mysterious illness. As Act 1 unfolds, though, we realize that Parris's concern is equally as self-centered as it is centered on Betty. Parris is very concern with appearances, especially the opinion others have of himself. He shows extreme anger at Abigail for creating this situation. As the play progresses and the townspeople support the trials and the children, so does Parris. they become his protection, his allies. By the end of the play, the tide turns yet again. As the children lose credibility in the town, Parris's support and compassion dwindles as well. Ultimately, Parris sees the children as an avenue to gain more power in the town.
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