John Proctor vs. Reverend Parris
In “The Crucible,” it is clearly illustrated that religion is the foundation in which the society of Salem is built upon. This directly implies that morality is highly valued in the society. In the beginning of the play, Arthur Miller draws a distinct line between John Proctor and Parris from their backgrounds and moral standards. Proctor is a married farmer who had an affair with a 17-year old house worker, Abigail. Parris is a minister of the church, and his reputation plays a very important role in maintaining his position as the leader of the congregation. While Miller portrays Proctor as an immoral man, he portrays Parris as a somewhat respected man in the city of Salem. But their moral standards eventually swoop through the witch trial that strikes the town. Throughout the story, Parris serves as a foil for Proctor by giving up his integrity for his reputation while Proctor gives up his life for goodness.
John Proctor is bound in guiltiness from his affair with Abigail. He struggles to get free from the past, and believes that his wife, Elizabeth, is making it more difficult by being unforgiving. But it is really his own guilt that keeps him in the darkness. He thinks that there is no goodness left in him, and it would be impossible to put all the broken pieces back together. On the contrary, Reverend Parris thinks that he deserves respect from the people of Salem. When the issue of whether Parris should be granted six pounds for firewood, Parris implies that he deserves it since he is the minister of the church and his possessions definitely matter to him in order to maintain his position.
When the Putnams claim that Parris's daughter, Betty, is bewitched, Parris shows reluctance to accept such opinion because he is fearful that the faction of the church who wants to get rid of him will use it against him. Since he is so concerned with his reputation, his moral standard lowers its barrier in order to meet his needs....
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