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Characterization of reverend samuel parris in the crucible

Characterization of Reverend Samuel Parris in "The Crucible"

Eric Repas

Throughout The Crucible we are introduced to and follow four or five

important characters that Arthur Miller elaborated upon. One of those characters

is Reverend Samuel Parris, a bitter minister who came to Salem for unclear

reasons. That reason may have been he was looking for a small town to control,

maybe he was trying to escape something or someone, or he may have just wanted a

fresh, clean start; whatever that reason was it is for sure he had no idea what

he was going to start. If the blame of the Salem Witchcraft Trails were to be

traced back to one individual it would certainly be Reverend Parris.

When we are first introduced to Parris he is at the side of his

daughters bed praying for his recovery. It is Parris who calls in Hale and

other experts so that a cure may be found for his daughter. Once word got out

that there were witch hunters in Salem all hell broke loose. As three warrants

are sent out to arrest the supposed witches the long blood bath that is to

follow is set into motion. During the trials Parris is sure to attack the

character of every defendant leaving no one pure. When Frances Nurse brings a

petition with 91 names on it, a petition to set Rebecca, Goody Proctor, and

Martha Corey free Parris demands that all those on the list be called in for



Danforth, glancing at the list: How many names are here?

Frances: Ninety-one, Your Excellency.

Parris, sweating: These people should be summoned. Danforth

looks up at him questioningly. For questioning.

Parris: This is a clear attack upon the court!

Parris also attacks Mary Warren harshly when she changes sides to help

John Proctor clear his wife's name. Once Mary claims she fainted at will he

tries to make her prove this, and once he has weakened her whole defensive stand,

the other girls move in for the kill forcing her to turn on the man she could

have saved. Parris could not let it be proven that the girls were liars for if

it was both his daughter and niece would be caught in the middle of this

elaborate fabrication. Of course if they were proven to be the liars it would

reflect upon his own character and involvement in the bloody game.

In the end of the novel Parris does show remorse for the whole ordeal,

once John Proctor is sentenced to hang Parris finally realizes that this has all

been wrong. Parris pleads with Elizabeth to convince John to convince so that

his life will be spared for this is blood that will be on Parris's own hands.

But do not be followed this is also a selfish act for if he could have gotten

Proctor to confess it would have justified the other hangings.


Parris (In deadly fear to Elizabeth) : " Go to him Goody Proctor!

There is time yet!"

From outside a drumroll strikes the air. Parris is startled.

Elizabeth jerks about toward the window.

Parris: Go to him! He rushes out the door as to hold back his fate.

Proctor! Proctor!

Samuel Parris was a man who used the Trails for vengeance, vengeance for

everything that has ever happened to him. For once in his life this man had

absolute power, although once this power was used his role of importance was

taken away by Danforth and others. Maybe it was that once he was knocked of his

pedestal he finally realized all this was wrong. Maybe by the end of the novel

he finally realized that he was wrong there were no witches, or it could have

been he just wanted the satisfaction of Proctors confession; but whatever it was

it really doesn't matter now all are dead and gone. Without Parris the Trails

would not have escalated to what they became or just maybe they would have never

even began.

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