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Reverend Parris is kind of a big deal in Salem. In this Puritan theocracy, he gets to exercise both spiritual and temporal power, and he wants to keep it that way. So when he catches his niece, Abigail Williams, cavorting around like a witch in the forest one night, he immediately fears for his good name and reputation. But when his daughter Betty gets sick, he sees a great opportunity to prevent his good name from being tarnished and to cement his power among the townsfolk.

When the doctor is called out to treat Betty, he finds that he can't help her; he thinks that whatever's ailing her is spiritual, not physical, and that there are dark, diabolical forces at work. This convinces Parris that there are witches in Salem, and with the help of his lying, manipulative niece, he sets about generating a witch craze that will engulf the whole town, setting neighbor against neighbor and destroying numerous innocent lives.

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Reverend Parris is Salem's elected spiritual leader, who is worried that his niece's actions and daughter's mysterious illness will reflect badly on his character and reputation. Reverend Parris is depicted as a superficial, selfish individual. He is only concerned about his salary and position of authority in Salem's community.

Betty Parris is the reverend's daughter, who lies incapacitated on her bed in the opening scene of the play. She plays a relatively minor role in the play and has few lines. Many community members believe that Betty is bewitched and cursed at the beginning of the play.

Abigail Williams is Reverend Parris's niece and Betty's cousin. Reverend Parris caught Abigail and several other girls dancing in the forest, and she is the main contributor to the witchcraft hysteria that spreads throughout Salem's community. Abigail Williams is portrayed as a malevolent, selfish young girl. She wrongly accuses innocent citizens of witchcraft in order to avoid being punished for dancing in the woods.

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Reverend Parris is the religious leader in Salem.  Being the religious leader means that you are responsible for the souls of those in your congregation.  This is a big responsibility so to lighten the load a bit; your finances were taken care of by your congregation.  Everything was provided for Parris and his family and in turn he needed to be the pillar of the community.  It was due to this fact that Parris found it imperative to cover up his family’s involved in the satanic behavior in the woods.  Betty (Parris’s daughter), Abigail (Parris’s niece), Tituba (Parris’s slave), and other young girls of the community were caught chanting and dancing naked in the woods one night.  To understand why this is a big problem you need to understand the time period as well as Puritan belief.  Young girls were raised to be pure and full of moralistic values.  It was through this purity that girls were matched with potential husbands and the union was made.  Even after the union of marriage, young ladies needed to be pure and void of bold behavior.  The activities found in marriage were duties and not meant to be fun and exciting.  Even if the girls were just caught dancing in the woods, it would be considered a punishable sin, but the fact that they were naked and chanting compounded the situation.  This point needed to be explained because it is this particular incident that really develops the character of Reverend Parris in the play and it explains his motivations throughout.

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Reverend Parris is the minister in Salem. Miller notes, "In history he cut a villainous path, and there is very little good to be said for him." He appreciates and takes pride and comfort in his position of religious authority. In fact, he is more concerned with his position than he is with looking out for the spiritual and ethical welfare of others. He is quick to judge others and is eager to jump on the bandwagon of the witch hunt. 

Betty Parris is the Reverend's daughter. We don't know if her illness is real or an act. But in either case, she is somehow affected by her experience in the woods with the other girls. At the end of Act 2, she rises out of bed and makes accusations. This suggests that she is very impressionable. Either she believes that the other accusations (from Abby) are true or she simply wants to go along with Abby's story out of solidarity. 

Abigail (Abby) is Parris's niece. Abby's parents had been brutally killed and she does not receive any significant parental affection from Reverend Parris. Abby is attractive, flirtatious, and manipulative. However, her behavior is not entirely her fault. Having received no parental affection, she seeks romantic affection from John Proctor. He obliges but then turns her away. In this sense, the other girls are the only ones who support and stand by her. This doesn't excuse her behavior, but it shows how someone like her might feel neglected. 

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Who are Abigail, Tituba, and Betty in The Crucible?

Abigail Williams is one of the main characters in "The Crucible" and she is Reverend Parris' niece. Her parents have been killed prior the the play's beginning. Abigail had been a housekeeper for the Proctors but she was dismissed following her adulterous affair with John Proctor. She is the primary instigator of the accusations of witchcraft. And while her cruelty deserves criticism, she is also a sympathetic character because her need for attention derives from the death of her parents and the lack of a loving adult (aside from John Proctor, which is an unhealthy relationship). Abigail is also at the mercy of a sexually repressed, fanatically religious society (as are all the characters).

Tituba is Reverend Parris' slave from Barbados. She had been with the girls, dancing in the woods and suspicions of her are raised because of the history of Voodoo in her native Barbados. It seems that she went along with the mischief in the woods because she wanted to appease Abigail and the others. When the accusations start and the hysteria sets in, Tituba regresses to those superstitious roots and goes somewhat mad by the time she goes to prison.

Betty is Reverend Parris' daughter and is also one of the accusers. When the play opens, Betty is in bed having fainted and/or emotionally and physically overcome by the events in the woods. Although it is clear some of the other girls, namely Abby, have faked physical possession and real illness, it is unclear whether or not Betty is truly ill as a result of the events which transpired in the woods. In either case, it is clear that Betty is very impressionable and easily overwhelmed/influenced.

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In The Crucible, who are Reverend Parris, Betty, and Abigail?

Reverend Parris is the reverend of the town of Salem, Massachucets.  In those Puritan times, the reverend was a very important man in the town; people looked to him for moral and spiritual guidance, and he was seen as a man ordained by God to lead the people.  He was also looked to for many decisions regarding the law.  His daughter is Betty.  Betty, in the opening scene, is lying on her bed, not speaking, eating or sleeping.  She has broken into hysterics a couple times, saying that she wants her mama, who is dead, and that she will fly to find her.  This causes Parris great concern, so he sends for the doctor, who can't find anything wrong with her, medically.  Abigail is Parris' niece; her parents died when she was young, so Parris took her in, and when she wasn't working in other people's homes as their servant (like the Proctor household), she has lived with Parris.  Abby, Betty, and many other girls in the town were caught by Parris, dancing in the woods the night before the play opens, so that is why Betty is acting weird; she is scared that she will get in trouble for dancing, which is forbidden in that town.

I have provided some links for you below to more detailed character and plot summaries.  Good luck.

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