By Alexander Edge-Densmore
Reverend Samuel Parris was a selfish, power-hungry, and greedy man. Parris believed that everyone was beneath him and that they all owed him something in some way. When the Salem Witch Trials began Reverend Parris believed the girls rather than listen to Rebecca Nurse, who says, “I think She’ll (Betty Parris) wake when she tires of it.” Referring to the fact that Betty was faking her bewitched sleep, to save his name and title. Even Arthur Miller claims that there was little good to be said about Reverend Parris. Arthur Miller says at the beginning of act one, “… He (Parris) believed he was being persecuted wherever he went, despite his best efforts to win people and God to his side. In meetings, he felt insulted if someone rose to shut the door without first asking his permission.” As if he believed just deserved the respect of the people. Reverend Samuel Parris just believes that what he does immediately gives him power and that makes him blind to the truth. The way Arthur Miller wrote about Reverend Parris turned him into an ungodly and power-hungry man. During the play Parris goes from being worried about his daughter to arguing with Giles Corry about his firewood and how he deserves to get it for free even with his sixty pounds a year that he gets paid plus the six he gets for firewood. “The salary is sixty-six pounds, Mr. Proctor! I’m not some preaching farmer with a book under my arm.” Says Mr. Parris, only proving my point on how much power he believes he has or deserves. Arthur Miller even says in the beginning of act one how “very little good can be said about Reverend Samuel Parris.” He makes Parris out to be a dictator as well as a selfish man. Arthur Miller, again says in the first few paragraphs of act one, says, “He (Reverend Parris) believed he was being persecuted wherever he went, despite his best efforts to win people and god on his side. In meetings, he feels insulted if someone rose to shut the door without first asking his permission.” Showing how Mr. Parris believed he was being persecuted wherever he went, despite his best effort to win people and God at his side. In meetings, he felt insulted if someone rose to shut the door without first asking his permission.” Showing how Mr. Parris believed he deserved that respect. Arthur Miller must have had some grudge against Reverend Parris for how he made him out to be; nevertheless this is what he was. Reverend Samuel Parris believed himself (something of a king or high authority) above everyone else in Sale. As I read I saw how selfish Reverend Parris was. For example, during the first act, and I’ve mentioned this before, Reverend Parris got into an argument with Giles Corry about how since he was the Minister of Salem that he should get his firewood for free and that sixty-six pounds a year was barely enough to live on. To that Giles said,”You are allowed six pounds a year to buy your firewood Mr. Parris.” Which Parris then turned into an argument on how when he worked in Barbados for more than he was working for now, and how they were lucky to have him at such a “low” salary. All of this arguing about wood was going on Right after everyone being worried about Parris’s daughter, Betty, who was believed to be under a spell. But I digress Mr. Parris was believing his fantasy that he was a good preacher and that everyone should respect him for that. Another thing I noticed, later in the play, was how much he cared about his reputation. He was all too eager to assume witchcraft and call on Reverend Hale, for me to believe he was worried about Betty.
In the play, other people saw Reverend Parris in much the same way, selfish and greedy. John Proctor gave the biggest example, when he was talking to hale in act 2, after Hale told him, “Mr. Proctor, your house is not a church; your theology must tell you that.” John Proctor said, “It does sir; and it tells me that a minister may pray to god without he have golden candlesticks upon his alter.” He then went on to explain how Parris had preached about nothing but golden candlesticks until he got them, yet another example of Reverend Parris’s greed. As for selfishness, this one is obvious, first, his thought that he should get free firewood, and then not long after that one he says, “Man! Don’t a minister deserve a house to live in?” for not long before the play he had requested, “demanded” is how Giles Corry would put it, the deed to the house he was given for being the minister. And Proctor despises Reverend Parris’s Sermons for the fact that they always end up more about Hell than Heaven, he even says at one point, “Can you speak one minute without we land in Hell again? I’m sick of hell!” Reverend Parris’s actions prove everything other people in the town think. He is selfish, greedy, and power-hungry. The time he wanted golden candlesticks, he preached about them until they were given to him. When he realized that Betty was ill, rather than find a doctor, he immediately believed, and acted upon this belief that she was under a spell. He then proceeded to force Abigail, his niece, to tell him who forced them to do what they did in the forest despite her telling him that all they did was dance. The incident with the firewood and the house deed continues to show how very greedy and selfish Reverend Parris is. Even at the beginning of the play it shows how he would rather let the sin that all the girls committed go, than risk causing his house to be seen as part of said sin. This later leads to the Salem Witch Trials, because of his forcing the girls to tell him who forced them to do something that they did of their own accord. Parris was supposed to be a trusting and Godly man; his actions throughout the play don not depict him as such.
Reverend Samuel Parris was a selfish and greedy man hungry for as much power as he can get, who was blind to what was going on around him. His belief was that everyone in Salem owed him something, golden candlesticks, firewood, the deed to his house, which was in truth the house to the minister of Salem until he leaves that office, etc. showing his selfishness and greediness. During the introduction into the first act even Arthur miller says that Parris had very little good about him. My overall point to this is this, Practice what you preach, which as obviously seen, Mr. Paris failed