Why do some people, like John Proctor, avoid Sabbath meetings in The Crucible?

Quick answer:

In act 1, John Proctor tells Thomas Putnam that Reverend Parris's preaching is shallow and that he has little regard for God. He also perceives Parris as a greedy man who is only interested in money. As a result, many citizens are beginning to avoid church.

Expert Answers

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

John Proctor makes it clear that he is not a fan of Reverend Parris and believes that he is a superficial man, who does not possess the light of God. In act 1, John Proctor admits to Thomas Putnam that he does not appreciate the fact that Reverend Parris only...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

preaches on hellfire and damnation. He tells Reverend Parris,

"Take it to heart, Mr. Parris. There are many others who stay away from church these days because you hardly ever mention God anymore" (Miller, 29).

Rebecca Nurse even agrees with John's assessment of Reverend Parris's preaching and says that there are many citizens who refuse to bring their children to church for that reason. In addition to preaching solely on hellfire and God's wrath, Proctor is also tired of Parris's greedy personality. Proctor views Reverend Parris with contempt for demanding a deed to his house and insisting on having golden candlesticks at the altar. Overall, John Proctor and many other citizens are tired of listening to Reverend Parris preach about hellfire and are beginning to take note of his greedy, superficial personality, which is not becoming of a minister. Parris's judgmental, severe preaching style and his selfish personality dissuade the Salem citizens from attending church.

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

Many people in Salem are inclined to avoid Sunday mornings at the meetinghouse because they dislike the minister, Mr. Parris.  John Proctor tells Mr. Hale that he doesn't see the "light of God" in Parris, and he has even avoided having his youngest son christened by Parris because he doesn't want the man to lay hands on his child.  In addition to these concerns, Proctor says that it "hurt[s] [his] prayer" that Parris insisted on -- and evidently got -- golden candlesticks for the altar when there were already perfectly good pewter candlesticks that were handmade by Francis Nurse, a well-respected member of the Salem community.  When Proctor sees those golden candlesticks gleaming at Parris's elbow when he preaches, it seems to make Proctor feel that Parris's priorities are out of line.

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

Why are some people, including John Proctor, inclined to stay away from Sabbath meeting?

John Proctor and others have a conflict with the new minister.  In Puritan times, the belief was that God would not allow an impious man to become a minister.  Hale references this in Act II when he says, "the man's ordained, therefore the light of God is in him."  However, Proctor feels that Reverend Parris is too concerned about wealth and worldly matters.  For a Puritan, this would suggest that the man was NOT godly.  Specifically, Proctor complains that Parris insisted on gold candlesticks for the altar.  He says that this is proof that there is "no light of God in that man."

While the gold candlesticks might not seem like a big deal, the Puritans were iconoclasts and obsessed with removing the trappings of wealth and power out of the church as distractions from true worship.  They believe that when Moses came down from Mt. Sinai (in the Bible) that he carried the commandment to eliminate all images. The Puritans ripped paintings out of churchs, smashed stained glass, and denounced any sort of decoration on the altar, believing that the decoration was a distraction from god.  So, putting gold candlesticks on the altar was, in the mind of Proctor and others, proof that Parris was corrupt.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Why are some people, including John Proctor, inclined to stay away from the sabbath meeting in The Crucible?

The sabbath, a day of rest and devotion, is a religious experience which people use to celebrate their faith.  John Proctor, a man of deceit and lies, who cannot remember all of the ten commandments, cannot attend the sabbath due to his affair with Abigail. Not only would Proctor's attendance be an insult to the religion, but Proctor is also overtaken with guilt and anguish for his adultery.

Last Updated on