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Character analysis of Reverend Parris in the play The Crucible

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Introduction

Character analysis of Reverend Parris in the play ?The Crucible? Reverend Samuel Parris (1652-1720) In the play... BACKGROUND: He was born in London, England, the son of cloth merchant. When his father died in 1673, Samuel left Harvard to take up his inheritance in Barbados, where he maintained a sugar plantation and bought two Carib slaves to tend his household, one by the name of Tituba Indian and the other John Indian. In 1680, after a hurricane hit Barbados damaging much of his property, Parris sold a little of his land and returned to Boston. The slaves Tituba and John remained a part of his household. Although the plantation supported his merchant ventures, Parris was dissatisfied with his lack of financial security and began to look to the ministry. In July 1689, he became minister of Salem Village (now Danvers), Massachusetts. There was tension when he arrived because of him delaying his acceptance of the position, factionalism already present within the town, and his lack of ability for resolving his parishioner's disputes. ...read more.

Middle

At first the audience might sympathize with him. But then they quickly realize that Parris is just worried about his reputation. He is scared that if people think there is witchcraft in his house, he'll lose his position as minister of Salem and the fact that this concern outweighs his worry over his suffering daughter clearly paints a picture of him as selfish. Further examples of Parris's greed include: quibbling over firewood, insisting on gratuitous golden candlesticks for the church and demanding (against time-honoured tradition) that he have the deed to the house he lives in. PARRIS: Abigail, I have fought here three long years to bend these stiff-necked people to me, and now, just now when some good respect is rising for me in the parish, you compromise my very character. I have given you a home, child. I have put clothes upon your back ? now give me an upright answer. Your name in the town ? it is entirely white, is it not? ...read more.

Conclusion

to a certain extent by the way he talks repeated of his "enemies" and presents his position as being under threat and in danger. PARRIS: It is great service, sir. It is weighty name; it will strike the village that Proctor confess. I beg you, let him sign it. The sun is up, Excellency! (page326) This shows Parris? fear of being false throughout, so he is happy seeing John Proctor confess witchcraft. Miller could be using Parris to reflect the restrictive society and how he reinforces this restriction, and fear that the people have by using religion to scare people. Parris is a symbol of religion, thus his character could reflect the restrictive nature of religion as it has been used to scare individuals, thus religion can also be used as a form of control. Additionally, the fact that Parris thinks purely from one perspective suggests that Miller is trying to use Parris to reflect the extent to which religion has affected society as it has manipulated Parris into thinking that restriction, conformity and lack of amusement is the right way to live life. ...read more.

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