Compare and Contrast of Parris and Hale in "The Crucible"

Topics: The Crucible, Salem witch trials, People of the Salem witch trials Pages: 3 (860 words) Published: October 8, 2006
Samuel Parris and John Hale are the two ministers in The Crucible and were initially alike in their attitudes towards witchcraft. However, their personalities show some striking dissimilarities. Unlike Hale, Reverend Parris is characterized by extreme paranoia and egotism. He is very static- his traits and motives remain consistent from the beginning to the end of the play. Although a religious man and believer in witchcraft like Parris, Hale values human life and is motivated by personal beliefs and his sense of morality, disregarding his best interests. He is a very dynamic character, becoming progressively less confident and trusting of law and doctrine as his faith is tested throughout the ordeal.

Parris is dogmatic, intolerant of opposition, and overly suspicious of those that he does not like. His desire to persecute his rivals sets the hysteria in Salem into motion. Parris only does things to further his purposes and he only thinks of the effects that any given circumstance will have on him. When his daughter Betty is unresponsive in the beginning of the play, Parris is more concerned about what the neighbors will think if it turns out that Betty was practicing witchcraft than he is with her condition. He fears that if it appears that he cannot control his household, the townspeople will not trust him with the entire village. As soon as the court comes into power Parris begins to set the court against his assumed enemies, including John Proctor, Francis Nurse, and Giles Corey. When Francis Nurse presented a signed petition in favor of his wife to the court, it was Parris's idea to arrest those who signed the petition. Parris supports the court when it remains in power and can aid him, but as soon as the town began to turn against it, Parris is the first to look for a way out.

As stated above, although he is a religious man, Parris only uses religion and his position to further his own purposes. This and the minister's materialism and egotism in a...
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