The story begins when one of the local ministers, Mr.Parris, is kneeling beside his unconscious daughter, Betty Parris. Rumors are spreading around the village that Betty is a victim of witchcraft, and a crowd is gathered outside Parris’s house. Parris, a minister living in theocratic Salem, immediately begins to fear his fate after his reputation is tainted by the sin of witchcraft. Clearly, since the beginning of the play, we can see Mr Parris begins to revolve his actions around the desire to protect his own reputation as he is a religious man and figure of authority. He believes that his social standing cannot be stained because of his association to Betty.
In Act One, Scene One we can see that Parris is devastated and crushed by what is happening in his household:
‘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?’
After seeing some girls dance in the forest, he begins to understand that the rumors may be true and therefore, that witchcraft is being practiced in his own house. He immediately begins to question his niece Abigail, and having heard rumors in town, he tries to clear out the situation by seeing if his daughter and niece are contemplating with the devil. At the start of the scene, Miller makes the audience sympathetic for Parris, perhaps making him seem like an honest man. Miller though decides to quickly clear that idea by making us immediately see him as he... [continues]
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