How Did Reverend Parris Change in The Crucible?

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About this sample


Words: 600 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 600|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Reverend Samuel Parris, a key character in Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible," undergoes significant changes throughout the course of the story. Parris, who initially appears as a self-serving and paranoid figure, evolves into a more complex and sympathetic character as the events of the Salem witch trials unfold. This essay will explore the various changes we witness in Reverend Parris, analyzing his motivations, actions, and relationships with other characters. By examining these transformations, we can gain a deeper understanding of the play's themes and the impact of mass hysteria on individuals.

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At the beginning of the play, Reverend Parris is primarily motivated by his own self-interest and desire for power. He is portrayed as an insecure man who is more concerned with maintaining his reputation and position in the community than with the well-being of his daughter Betty or the truth behind the accusations of witchcraft. For example, when Betty falls ill, Parris immediately fears the consequences it may have on his reputation as the town's minister. He is more worried about the potential damage to his standing than about her well-being. This initial portrayal of Parris sets the stage for his eventual transformation.

As the events of the witch trials escalate, Reverend Parris begins to question his own actions and the role he played in the hysteria. He becomes increasingly aware of the consequences of his greed and paranoia, particularly as his daughter's condition worsens. Parris recognizes the toll it takes on his conscience and starts reflecting on his choices. This shift is evident in his conversations with other characters, such as John Proctor and Reverend Hale, where he expresses doubts and acknowledges his own mistakes. Through these moments of self-reflection, Parris begins to exhibit a more nuanced and complex personality.

Another significant change in Reverend Parris is his evolving relationships with Abigail Williams and John Proctor. Initially, Parris is aligned with Abigail, as he believes her accusations will divert attention from his own questionable actions. However, as the play progresses, Parris becomes disillusioned with Abigail's manipulative behavior and her role in escalating the witch trials. He starts to distance himself from her and even questions her credibility. Conversely, Parris's relationship with John Proctor undergoes a transformation as well. Proctor challenges Parris's authority and exposes his greed, leading to a shift in the power dynamics between the two characters. This change in relationships highlights Parris's growing awareness of the consequences of his actions.

By the end of the play, Reverend Parris has transformed from a one-dimensional, self-serving character into a more sympathetic figure. As the truth behind the accusations becomes apparent and the devastating consequences of the trials become undeniable, Parris realizes the magnitude of his mistakes. He acknowledges the harm caused by his actions and the role he played in perpetuating the hysteria. This transformation is evident in Parris's final plea for forgiveness and his admission that he is "a broken minister." This moment of vulnerability and self-awareness leaves the audience with a more complex understanding of Parris's character.

In conclusion, Reverend Parris undergoes significant changes throughout the course of "The Crucible." From his initial greed and paranoia, to moments of self-reflection and shifting relationships, Parris evolves into a more complex and sympathetic character. This transformation highlights the destructive power of mass hysteria and the consequences it can have on individuals. By exploring these changes in Parris's character, we gain a deeper understanding of the play's themes and the impact of fear and manipulation on society. "The Crucible" serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us of the dangers of unchecked power and the importance of individual responsibility.

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Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. Penguin Classics, 2003.

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How Did Reverend Parris Change In The Crucible? (2024, Jun 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from
“How Did Reverend Parris Change In The Crucible?” GradesFixer, 13 Jun. 2024,
How Did Reverend Parris Change In The Crucible? [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 Jul. 2024].
How Did Reverend Parris Change In The Crucible? [Internet] GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 13 [cited 2024 Jul 18]. Available from:
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