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Crucible Character Study: Reverend Parris

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Despicable in many ways, the town preacher believes himself to be a pious man. In truth, he thirsts for power, land, and material possessions.

Many of his parishioners, including the Proctor family, have stopped attending church on a regular basis. His sermons of hellfire and damnation have shunned many of Salem’s residents. Because of his unpopularity, he feels persecuted by many of the citizens of Salem. However, many residents, such as Mr. and Mrs. Putnam, favor Rev. Parris' harsh sense of spiritual authority.

He often bases his decisions off of self-interest, though he camouflages his actions with a façade of holiness. For example, he once wanted his church to have gold candle sticks. Therefore, according to John Proctor, the Reverend preached only about the candle sticks until he attained them.

In addition, Proctor mentions that Salem's previous ministers never owned property. Parris, on the otherhand, demands to have the deed of his home. He fears that the residents might cast him out of the town, and he therefore wants an official claim to his property.

It is no coincidence that he considered all of the defendants enemies long before they were accused of witchcraft.

He becomes even more pathetic during the play’s resolution. He wants to save John Proctor from the hangman’s noose, but only because he worries the town may rise against him and perhaps kill him in retaliation. Even after Abigail steals his money and runs away, he never admits fault, making his character all the more frustrating to behold.

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