PARRITT: I’ve got to stay undercover, Larry, like I told you last night. (1)
Is Parritt’s fear real, or is it just an act?
PARRITT: I’m getting more and more scared of him. (3)
Whether Parritt is telling the truth about being afraid of Hickey or just saying this to get Larry on his side is up for debate. What’s not up for debate is the fact that this new version of Hickey does freak people out, and this is a big reason they start to turn on him. I’m pretty sure Yoda summed it perfectly when he said, “Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
ROCKY: Say, listen, what d’yuh mean about him bein’ scared you’d ask him questions? What questions? (3)
While Hickey is the great reader of men, Rocky and the others recognize that Larry shows the ability to read Hickey in a way that they can’t. It’s a subtle one, but it’s one of the great conflicts of the play. These two are evenly matched even if Hickey is the more blustery of the two.