Characterization of Reverend Samuel Parris in “The Crucible”Eric RepasThroughout The Crucible we are introduced to and follow four or fiveimportant characters that Arthur Miller elaborated upon.
One of those charactersis Reverend Samuel Parris, a bitter minister who came to Salem for unclearreasons. 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 afresh, clean start; whatever that reason was it is for sure he had no idea whathe was going to start. If the blame of the Salem Witchcraft Trails were to betraced back to one individual it would certainly be Reverend Parris.When we are first introduced to Parris he is at the side of hisdaughters bed praying for his recovery. It is Parris who calls in Hale andother experts so that a cure may be found for his daughter. Once word got outthat there were witch hunters in Salem all hell broke loose. As three warrantsare sent out to arrest the supposed witches the long blood bath that is tofollow is set into motion.
During the trials Parris is sure to attack thecharacter of every defendant leaving no one pure. When Frances Nurse brings apetition with 91 names on it, a petition to set Rebecca, Goody Proctor, andMartha Corey free Parris demands that all those on the list be called in forquestioning.pg93Danforth, glancing at the list: How many names are here?Frances: Ninety-one, Your Excellency.Parris, sweating: These people should be summoned. Danforthlooks 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 helpJohn Proctor clear his wife’s name. Once Mary claims she fainted at will hetries 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 couldhave saved.
Parris could not let it be proven that the girls were liars for ifit was both his daughter and niece would be caught in the middle of thiselaborate fabrication. Of course if they were proven to be the liars it wouldreflect 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 allbeen wrong.
Parris pleads with Elizabeth to convince John to convince so thathis 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 gottenProctor to confess it would have justified the other hangings.pg145Parris (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 foreverything that has ever happened to him. For once in his life this man hadabsolute power, although once this power was used his role of importance wastaken away by Danforth and others. Maybe it was that once he was knocked of hispedestal he finally realized all this was wrong. Maybe by the end of the novelhe finally realized that he was wrong there were no witches, or it could havebeen he just wanted the satisfaction of Proctors confession; but whatever it wasit really doesn’t matter now all are dead and gone. Without Parris the Trailswould not have escalated to what they became or just maybe they would have nevereven began.