When John Proctor arrives at the court with Mary Warren, what does Reverend Parris accuse him of?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Almost as soon as John Proctor addresses Deputy Governor Danforth, the Reverend Parris begins to accuse him, as if to prejudice the magistrate against Proctor before Proctor can even explain his concerns. Parris says, "Beware this man, Your Excellency, this man is mischief." Parris and Proctor, of course, do not get along, and their strong dislike and distrust of each other is mutual. Parris feels threatened by Proctor's opposition to his ministry, and Proctor does "not see the light of God" in the minister, as he said in Act Two. When Proctor joins his voice to Giles Corey's, Parris declares, "They've come to overthrow the court, sir!" Parris's strategy is to reduce shades of gray to black and white, so to speak: either a person supports the court or opposes it. In doing so, Parris wants to paint Proctor as being set dead against the workings of the court which would, perhaps, prejudice Danforth against Proctor so that anything Proctor says about Parris, or anything else, will be disregarded. When Ezekiel Cheever tells Danforth that Proctor ripped up the arrest warrant for his wife when Cheever delivered it, Parris seizes on this as evidence for his claims against Proctor. He shouts, "Now you have it!" as if Proctor's anger about his wife's arrest proves that he opposes the workings of the deputy governor.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Parris accuses Proctor of being in league with the devil. After the incident with "the bird," Mary, pointing at Proctor yells, "You're the Devil's man!" Parris eagerly responds, "Praise God!" He wants a gadfly like Proctor out of the picture as quckly as possible.

Parris, after heated exchanges with Mary, Proctor, Danforth refuses to back down. Danforth orders Proctor to jail and to his credit, Hale has finally had enough: "I denounce these procedings!" he cries. But denouncement is not enough for Proctor. He needs a man of action to stop the horrific accusations. He does not let Hale off the hook. Insted, he tells him, "You are pullng Heaven down and raising up a whore!"

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial