How Does Arthur Miller Present Reverend Parris In The Opening Scenes Of The Crucible?

1938 words - 8 pages

In the play The Crucible, characters are presented in many different ways. The ways Miller presents the character of Reverend Parris is through what the character himself says, stage directions and narrations of Miller, what the character of Parris does and the relationships that Parris has with other characters in the play.

At the beginning of the play, Miller describes Reverend Parris as a considerate and compassionate man who cares deeply for his daughter.
“…discovered kneeling next to a bed, evidently in prayer…”
The way in which this is shown is using narration. This is the first impressions we get of Parris. From this we know that the character of Parris is seen to be austere and that he has faith in God to make better what has gone wrong. As we see him praying to God we know that he is a puritan who believes that God will help him and make solutions to all his problems. As he is seen to be mumbling it also mentions how
“…confusion hangs about him. He mumbles.”
He is seen to be worrying because of the crisis he is in. From the stage directions it seems to be that he is deep in thought. He is not sure as to yet what has taken place but he knows that the people of Salem will be quick to judge him on his actions. This is seen to be another reason as to why he is turning to god as he is his last hope. The word ‘confusion’ shows the anxiousness and how he is afraid because he has no solution or cure. This links to there being a presence of evil which he is considering as he has no evidence to prove otherwise. The word ‘mumbling’ shows how he is trying to console himself because of what is happening and he is trying to persuade to himself that it can’t be from witchcraft. Another reason he may be mumbling is because he doesn’t want anyone to hear what he is saying. The people he thinks may hear may be the audience or the villagers of Salem. Parris is worried about this because if they hear what he says then it could be held against him later on. They may also use this to get him out of his job as the Reverend of Salem, this is something that he is already very paranoid about. The effect of this on the audience is that they then begin to decide whether he is caring and compassionate or whether he only cares for his reputation. We also know that it is about his reputation and not that he is a caring father. This is then shown later on in the play when he has conversations with other characters and Betty is not mentioned at all.

Miller also uses the character of Tituba to present Parris in a dominant way. Reverend Parris is seen to act as he is in charge of her. Tituba also knows this as,
“…her slave sense has warned her”
This is noted in the stage directions and also mention how Tituba is guessing what is about to happen and how she will be blamed. This is very ironic as Tituba is looking forward into the future as with an ironic tone guessing what is going to happen. It is seen as she knows what is happening. This then foreshadows the future....

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