The Crucible

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Reverend Parris Character Analysis

The minister of Salem, Betty's father, and Abigail's uncle. Tituba is his slave. As a minister, Parris delivers harsh fire and brimstone sermons that sometimes turn off his parishioners. As a father and master, he's inattentive and quick to anger. Parris's insecurity and obsessive concern with his reputation result from his near paranoid belief that someone is plotting to persecute him, steal his position, ruin his good name, or harm him in some other way.

Reverend Parris Quotes in The Crucible

The The Crucible quotes below are all either spoken by Reverend Parris or refer to Reverend Parris. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Puritanism and Individuality Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of The Crucible published in 2003.
Act 1 Quotes
I have trouble enough without I come five mile to hear him preach only hellfire and bloody damnation. Take it to heart, Mr. Parris. There are many others who stay away from church these days because you hardly ever mention God any more.
Related Characters: John Proctor (speaker), Reverend Parris
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

As the villagers wait for the Reverend Hale to arrive and offer guidance on Betty Parris' illness, Mr. Putnam accuses John Proctor of failing to attend Reverend Parris' church services. Proctor, in turn, criticizes the Reverend. Proctor feels that the Reverend's focus on "hellfire and bloody damnation" turns the parishioners away from their personal relationships with God, perverting the proper role of the Church.

Here, John Proctor presents a striking individuality at odds with the strict, communal ideology of Salem's Puritanism. Proctor challenges the church, and, thus the community, since Puritan society was based around the church. Proctor will later say of Reverend Parris, "I see no light of God in that man": Proctor is separated from his community by his determination to define his faith on his own terms, instead of the church's.

Proctor's request of Reverend Parris to "take it to heart" suggests that Proctor genuinely does want to make Salem a stronger, more genuinely faithful community. Even though he responds to his discomfort with the way that Reverend Parris runs the church by staying away as much as he can, Proctor also refuses to be silent and freely shares his views on how to improve Salem and the Puritan church (a habit that will ultimately lead to his arrest and conviction).

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Act 2 Quotes
I like it not that Mr. Parris should lay his hand upon my baby. I see no light of God in that man. I'll not conceal it.
Related Characters: John Proctor (speaker), Reverend Parris
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

Reverend Hale arrives at the Proctor home, as he has decided to visit each of the villagers who has been named in the trials. Hale questions John Proctor about the family's inconsistent attendance at church and his failure to have one of his three sons baptized. In John's response he explains that these lapses have nothing to do with an absence of personal faith but with his misgivings about the spiritual leadership of Reverend Parris.

The Puritan community believes that a minister is the instrument of God and, therefore, must be followed and recognized as sanctified. John stands up against this ideology, sure in his own faith and his own individual judgment of Reverend Parris. Unlike the rest of Salem, John is unafraid to share his opinions about the church ("I'll not conceal it") and to separate his own individual faith from the measures of observance prescribed by church leaders.

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Reverend Parris Character Timeline in The Crucible

The timeline below shows where the character Reverend Parris appears in The Crucible. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Puritanism and Individuality Theme Icon
Betty Parris has fallen into a strange coma. Around her hover Reverend Parris, her father and the... (full context)
Puritanism and Individuality Theme Icon
Reputation and Integrity Theme Icon
...arrives with news that the town doctor can't figure out what's the matter and suggests Parris look for spiritual causes. Parris says it can't possibly be spiritual causes, though just to... (full context)
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Abigail tells Parris about rumors that witchcraft caused Betty's faint: a crowd has already gathered downstairs in Parris's... (full context)
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Parris angrily asks if he should say he discovered his daughter and niece dancing "like heathen[s]"... (full context)
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Abigail insists there was no witchcraft, but Parris says he saw Tituba chanting over a cauldron. Abigail says that Tituba was just singing... (full context)
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Parris asks Abigail why Elizabeth Proctor dismissed her from her job as an assistant in the... (full context)
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Mrs. Ann Putnam barges into the room. Parris yells that no one should enter, but when he sees who it is, he invites... (full context)
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Mrs. Putnam tells Parris this event is a mark of hell on his house. She then asks how high... (full context)
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...now." Putnam remarks that Betty's eyes are closed, while his daughter Ruth's eyes are open. Parris is shocked that other girls are also sick. Mrs. Putnam says they're not sick: they're... (full context)
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Parris turns to Abigail, who admits Ruth and Tituba conjured spirits, but insists she wasn't involved. (full context)
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Parris moans that he'll be run out of town. But Putnam says Parris won't be if... (full context)
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...the Putnam's servant, enters with word that Ruth has improved slightly. Putnam and Abigail convince Parris he should speak to the crowd gathered downstairs. Parris agrees to lead them in singing... (full context)
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...stories straight: they all danced and Ruth and Tituba conjured spirits. Abigail tells Mercy that Parris saw her naked. Another girl, Mary Warren, runs in. She's terrified that the town will... (full context)
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...wall, calling for her dead mother. Abigail tells Betty not to worry because she told Parris everything. But Betty says Abigail didn't tell that she drank blood as a charm to... (full context)
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Downstairs, Parris and the crowd sing a psalm. Betty begins to wail. Parris and the Putnams run... (full context)
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Rebecca Nurse and Giles Corey enter. Parris implores Rebecca to go to Betty. She does, and Betty quiets down. Parris and the... (full context)
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A disagreement arises about whether Parris should have called Reverend Hale to come search Salem for spirits without first holding a... (full context)
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Putnam, Mrs. Putnam, and Parris tell Hale of the recent events. Hale and Rebecca are shocked Mrs. Putnam would send... (full context)
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...Hale's question, so he turns to Abigail. She repeats that they were only dancing. When Parris mentions he saw them dancing around a kettle, Abigail says the kettle just held soup.... (full context)
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The Danger of Ideology Theme Icon
Reputation and Integrity Theme Icon
...asks Tituba when she made a "compact with the devil." Tituba says she never has. Parris threatens to whip her to death unless she confesses. Putnam yells that she should be... (full context)
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The Danger of Ideology Theme Icon
Reputation and Integrity Theme Icon
...of women she's seen with the devil. Betty wakes and begins to chant names too. Parris, Putnam, and Hale call for the town marshal as the girls scream out the names... (full context)
Act 2
Reputation and Integrity Theme Icon
...to go to the judges, it comes out that he was alone with Abigail at Parris's house. Proctor had left that part out when he told Elizabeth the story earlier. Elizabeth... (full context)
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The Danger of Ideology Theme Icon
Reputation and Integrity Theme Icon
...their three sons are baptized. Proctor explains he doesn't see the "light of God" in Parris. Hale says that such a thing is not for Proctor to decide: Parris is an... (full context)
Act 3
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The Danger of Ideology Theme Icon
...Corey is dragged from the courtroom (and onto the stage), followed by Francis Nurse, Hale, Parris, Hathorne, and Danforth. Hathorne and Danforth are furious that Corey would disrupt and try to... (full context)
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Nurse says they have proof the girls are frauds. Proctor and Mary Warren come forward. Parris tells Danforth that Proctor causes "mischief," while Hale begs Danforth to hear the evidence. (full context)
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Proctor tells Danforth that Mary is prepared to testify she never saw any spirits. Parris shouts that Proctor has come to overthrow the court, but Danforth silences him. Terrified and... (full context)
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...is valid, but Ezekiel Cheever mentions that Proctor earlier ripped up the court's warrant, and Parris adds that Proctor seldom comes to church. Hale argues that such evidence hardly justifies considering... (full context)
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Parris declares this an attack on the court. Hale questions why all attempts at defense are... (full context)
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...laughed at prayer, and that Abigail and the other girls frequently danced in the woods. Parris is forced to admit he saw them dancing. Danforth had not heard this before, and... (full context)
Act 4
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Hathorne and Danforth enter. They wonder where Parris is and are troubled to learn from Herrick that he's with Hale, visiting those condemned... (full context)
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Parris enters. To Danforth and Hathorne's questions about Hale, he answers that Hale has returned to... (full context)
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After a moment's indecision, Parris reveals that Abigail robbed him of thirty-one pounds and then ran off with Mercy Lewis.... (full context)
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Danforth's position doesn't satisfy Parris. He's received threats regarding his part in the trials and fears for his safety. (full context)
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The Danger of Ideology Theme Icon
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...to confess, though he knows he shouldn't. When they learn the news, Danforth, Hathorne, and Parris are overjoyed. They ask Ezekiel Cheever to write down Proctor's confession. Proctor asks why it... (full context)
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...then asks if he's seen anyone with the devil. Proctor again says no. Hale and Parris convince Danforth to accept Proctor's confession anyway. Under pressure from Danforth, Proctor signs the confession.... (full context)
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...Proctor rips the confession to pieces. Danforth orders Herrick to take Proctor to the gallows. Parris and Hale beg Elizabeth to speak to Proctor. But she says Proctor has his goodness... (full context)