The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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Who discovers Betty and the other girls dancing in the forest?

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Reverend Parris is the one who discovers his daughter, Betty, and his niece, Abigail Williams, dancing in the forest.  Parris is shocked as he sees the girls dancing with Tituba,  “waving her arms over the fire.” Parris had heard “a screeching and gibberish coming from her mouth.”  It is significant that Parris is the one who discovers the girls dancing for a couple of reasons.  The opening of the drama shows Parris not able to understand why Betty is in a trance.  He is also unclear as to how "to spin this."  Parris is shown to be more concerned with the image he has in Salem than anything else.  He recognizes that the girls, and thus his reputation, could wind up in severe discredit for what they did.  

When Abigail suggests that Parris could initiate discussion of witchcraft and the devil in order to capture the imagination of the public, Parris goes along with it.  He does this in part because he found the girls breaking the rules in their dancing in the woods and because he is more concerned about his own image and name more than anything else.  Being the one who found the girls, Parris seizes upon Abigail's suggestion in order to improve his own lot with the Salem public.

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