In Act I of The Crucible, we learn that some of the townspeople's daughters have come under a trance. The girls were found - although others don't know it - by Reverend Parris. They were found dancing in the woods, completely inappropriate at the time. The children are confronted, at which time Betty Parris and Ruth Putnam get hysterical and have "a fit", as it would have called by the town's citizens. The girls were compleley unresponsive to the requests of their elders. As this is a small community, the rest of the parish have come to the home of this respected clergyman to discover what has happened.
Overall, these visitors are pushy and insensitive. Miller uses this scene to let the readers know just what type of people we are dealing with. We aren't meant to believe that the townspeople are kind souls who are a victim of their surroundings. Instead, we are supposed to understand that people, especially in a group, can by selfish and hypocritical.