Why has Reverend Parris sent for a doctor as the play begins?

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Initially, Reverend Parris acts like any concerned parent would do if one of their children were sick: he calls for a doctor. But once it becomes clear that the doctor can't treat Betty, and he suggests that there might be dark factors at work, Parris starts acting like the cynical, selfish man he really is.

He immediately seizes on the doctor's hint of possible witchcraft as an opportunity to enhance his reputation in town. He also sees Betty's illness as a chance to deflect attention from the potentially damaging repercussions of what his daughter and the other girls were up to in the forest that night. Ever the politician, Parris is all too aware that if news of Betty and her friends' strange cavortings should ever get out then this reputation will be toast. So he cunningly turns the situation to his advantage, and begins to sow the seeds of the terrible witch-craze that will soon descend upon Salem, destroying dozens of lives in its wake.

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At the beginning of the play, Reverend Parris's daughter, Betty, is lying on her bed incapacitated. The local doctors have no idea what is wrong with her and cannot heal Betty. Parris sends for Doctor Griggs, who tells Susanna Walcott that he cannot help Betty. Reverend Parris is extremely worried as Abigail informs him that rumors of witchcraft are beginning to spread throughout Salem. In addition to worrying about his daughter's health, Reverend Parris is also anxious about his position and title in the community. Reverend Parris fears that the citizens of Salem will remove him from his position of authority and desperately wishes to quell the rumors of witchcraft. Before Thomas Putnam and his wife visit Betty, Reverend Parris decides to send for Reverend Hale, who is supposed to be an expert in solving issues involving witches, demons, or other spiritual enemies. Reverend Parris hopes that Hale will confirm that no spiritual matters are the cause of Betty's illness.

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Parris has a daughter, Betty, who has taken ill. She is unresponsive and silent though at times she seems to want to jump out the window.

It is not revealed whether her illness is feigned or if it is a genuine physical response to a traumatic situation, but it is clear that she is easily influenced and deeply affected by her experiences.

Betty's apparent illness is the surface reason that Parris has called for help. He is worried about his daughter's health, physical and mental. 

There is more reason for Parris to worry, however, as he has seen his daughter dancing in the woods at night, an act that is taboo. The thought of witchcraft is one that seems to have occurred to Parris because he calls for Reverend Hale to come see Betty. Hale has a reputation for treating cases of witchcraft. 

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Reverend Parris's daughter, Betty, will not wake up. He sends for the doctor because he wants to find out what's wrong with her; he is hoping she is just ill. He...

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also sends for Reverend Hale because the community is talking of witchcraft, and he wants to disprove it. Ironically, the arrival of Hale begins the witch hunt in earnest.

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In The Crucible, why has Reverend Parris sent for a doctor as the play begins?

At the beginning of act one, if you read the text closely, it soon becomes clear that Betty, Reverend Parris's daughter, is lying on the bed, very ill.  Reverend Parris is freaking out because he has no idea what is wrong with her--she is not acting normal.  She is just lying there, not speaking, not eating, not moving, nothing.  It is almost like she is in a coma of sorts.

Parris is also very worried, because the night before, he discovered his daughter and his niece Abigail (who lives with him) dancing in the woods with a bunch of other girls from the village.  But that's not all--as the scene proceeds, we learn that he thinks he saw someone naked running around, and, that there was a big kettle of boiling liquid, with a frog in it.  All of these things put together, make Reverend Parris very upset; he suspects some sort of conjuring of spirits, and other forbidden or wicked behavior by the girls.  So, when he discovered them there, he was understandably very upset.  His daughter, Betty, since that incident, has been acting strange.  He is worried that maybe she has been bewitched somehow, through the activities that were occurring.  He hopes not, because that would cast a shadow on his reputation as a minister, so, he sends for the doctor.  He hopes that the doctor can find some easily explained medical reason for Betty's strange behavior.

I hope that clears things up for you; good luck!

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Explain why Reverend Parris in the play, The Crucible, sent for a doctor.

Reverend Parris is in a state of deep concern about the condition of his daughter, Betty. She is lying inert on her bed and he has been unsuccessful in his attempts to awaken her. The Reverend had discovered Betty, Abigail Williams his niece, Tituba, his slave and a number of other girls from the village dancing around a fire in the woods in the dead of night. His sudden appearance had frightened the girls terribly and Betty was so much affected by his discovery that she fainted. She had been in this comatose state ever since.

The Reverend had called for Doctor Griggs to determine the nature of Betty's ailment and to obviously get her to wake. Unfortunately, Dr. Griggs failed in this and went to consult his books to determine what exactly was wrong with the girl. Reverend Parris had then sent Susanna Walcott to the doctor to enquire what he had discovered. When she returns, Susanna informs him:

He bid me come and tell you, reverend sir, that he cannot discover no medicine for it in his books.

Reverend Parris despairs upon hearing this. He insists that the doctor consults his books again, upon which Susanna says:

Aye, sir, he have been searchin' his books since he left you, sir. But he bid me tell you, that you might look to un-natural things for the cause of it.

The Reverend's eyes widen in shock and he blurts out that there are no unnatural causes present. He has already summoned Reverend Hale from Beverley who will determine this fact. Once again, Reverend Parris asserts that the doctor needs to consult his books once more. Before Susanna leaves, both Abigail and the Reverend ask her to speak nothing of unnatural causes in the village.

Once Susanna is gone, Abigail tells her uncle that there are rumours of witchcraft in the village. The Reverend then confronts her about their actions in the forest, stating that his good name was in the balance. The truth had to come out. He asks Abigail if they had been conjuring spirits. Abigail denies this and states that they were just having some sport. The Reverend is clearly afraid and insists that Abigail tells the truth for his enemies would use this as an opportunity to get rid of him.

Now look you, child, your punishment will come in its time. But if you trafficked with spirits in the forest I must know it now, for surely my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it.

Reverend Parris is paranoid about his position. He has been at loggerheads with a number of parishioners such as John Proctor, who had accused him of being materialistic and using the church to enrich himself. He bitterly resents Proctor's accusations and believes that John and his friends want to oust him from the pulpit. He is prepared to do everything in his power to safeguard his position.

The fact that three members of his household had been performing unholy acts in the forest, therefore, puts the Reverend in a terribly compromising position and in a desperate attempt to protect himself, he later turns against the very parishioners whom he should protect, resulting in the conviction and execution of many innocent villagers.

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