The Crucible
The Crucible
by Arthur Miller

The Crucible Reverend Parris Quotes Page 2

Page (2 of 2) Quotes:   1    2  
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Act.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue.

PARRIS, studies here, then nods, half convinced: Abigail, I have fought here three long years to bend these stiff-necked people to me, and now, just now when some good respect is rising for me in the parish, you compromise my very character. I have given you a home, child. I have put clothes upon your back – now give me an upright answer. Your name in the town – it is entirely white, is it not?
ABIGAIL, with an edge of resentment: Why, I am sure it is, sir. There be no blush about my name.
PARRIS, to the point: Abigail, is there any other cause than you have told me, for your being discharged from Goody Proctor’s service? I have heard it said, and I tell you as I heard it, that she come so rarely to the church this year for she will not sit so close to something soiled. What signified that remark?
ABIGAIL: She hates me, uncle, she must, for I would not be her slave. It’s a bigger woman, a lying, cold, sniveling woman, and I will not work for such a woman! (I.63-66)

After seeing the girls dancing in the forest, Parris recognizes the possibility that the witchcraft being practiced has originated in his own household, and he worries about the possible danger to his reputation if the townsfolk learn that his daughter and niece could be consorting with the devil. More to the point: the townspeople may already have heard rumors that Abigail is not a proper girl, if Elizabeth Proctor has been talking about her in the town.

DANFORTH: I judge nothing. Pause. He keeps watching Proctor, who tries to meet his gaze. I tell you straight, Mister-I have seen marvels in this court. I have seen people choked before my eyes by spirits; I have seen them stuck by pins and slashed by daggers. I have until this moment not the slightest reason to suspect that the children may be deceiving me. Do you understand my meaning?
PROCTOR: Excellency, does it not strike upon you that so many of these women have lived so long with such upright reputation, and-
PARRIS: Do you read the Gospel, Mr. Proctor?
PROCTOR: I read the Gospel.
PARRIS: I think not, or you should surely know that Cain were an upright man, and yet he did kill Abel.
PROCTOR: Aye, God tells us that. To Danforth: But who tells us Rebecca Nurse murdered seven babies by sending out her spirit on them? It is the children only, and this one will swear she lied to you. (III.127-132)

Proctor appeals to the women’s long-standing excellent reputations to demonstrate that there might be something fishy about the accusations against them. Though Danforth and Parris try to suggest that the Devil is disingenuous and can fool even the most righteous man, Proctor diffuses their arguments by pointing to the ones who made the accusations and to their possibly negative reputations.

DANFORTH: You are in all respects a Gospel Christian?
PROCTOR: I am, sir.
PARRIS: Such a Christian that will not come to church but once in a month!
DANFORTH, restrained-he is curious: Not come to church?
PROCTOR: I-I have no love for Mr. Parris. It is no secret. But God I surely love.
CHEEVER: He plough on Sunday, sir.
DANFORTH: Plow on Sunday!
CHEEVER, apologetically: I think it be evidence, John. I am an official of the court, I cannot keep it.
PROCTOR: I-I have once or twice plowed on Sunday. I have three children, sir, and until last year my land give little.
GILES: You’ll find other Christians that do plow on Sunday if the truth be known.
HALE: Your Honor, I cannot think you may judge the man on such evidence.
DANFORTH: I judge nothing. Pause. He keeps watching Proctor, who tries to meet his gaze. I tell you straight, Mister-I have seen marvels in this court. I have seen people choked before my eyes by spirits; I have seen them stuck by pins and slashed by daggers. I have until this moment not the slightest reason to suspect that the children may be deceiving me. Do you understand my meaning?
PROCTOR: Excellency, does it not strike upon you that so many of these women have lived so long with such upright reputation, and-
PARRIS: Do you read the Gospel, Mr. Proctor?
PROCTOR: I read the Gospel.
PARRIS: I think not, or you should surely know that Cain were an upright man, and yet he did kill Abel.
PROCTOR: Aye, God tells us that. To Danforth: But who tells us Rebecca Nurse murdered seven babies by sending out her spirit on them? It is the children only, and this one will swear she lied to you. (III.116-132)

Danforth thinks that he can undermine Proctor’s honesty by showing that he isn’t a true Christian. He thinks that being a Christian means following rules, like not plowing on Sunday and knowing the Gospel by heart. On the other hand, Danforth is very trusting – too trusting – of the honesty of the young women who give the accusations. In other words, he’s totally inconsistent.

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