The style of selfishness is primarily provided through the actions and speeches of characters, including Abigail, Reverend Parris and Danforth. The theme of selfishness is demonstrated through the character of Abigail. She would do definitely anything to get John Proctor, even though he is a family man. This is demonstrated through her determination to eliminate Elizabeth Proctor. She reaches implicating Elizabeth of witchery, so that Elizabeth will be hanged and she can then wed John Proctor.
Her selfish desire is rightly summarized in John Proctor’s comment, “She believes to dance with me on my partner’s grave.” This highlights her selfishness as a ‘grave-dancer’ generally refers to somebody who commemorates somebody else’s miseries; nevertheless, she is in fact even worse than a typical grave-dancer, as she will happily send Elizabeth to her death just because she desires her spouse.
She also always put her own interests before anything else. Although she claims to enjoy John Proctor, she still puts herself first.
When Mary implicates Proctor of witchery in order to save herself, she states nothing to safeguard him. Furthermore, in order to remain in power, she happily sends out numerous people to their deaths, including Mary, who was when her close friend. By the end of the play, she takes all her uncle’s money, so that she can leave Salem where she can not endure anymore. This is an extremely selfish serve as he has given her a home and she understands that money is his life.
The theme of selfishness is likewise shown through the character of Reverend Parris. In the beginning of the play, Betty, Parris’ child is ill; however, Parris seems to be more concerned about the negative effect on him due to her illness than about her health. When he prays, he states, “God help me!” The reality that he prays that God help him rather of his daughter shows that he cares more about himself than his own child.
In order to appear to be reliable and holy, he does not tell the court anything about the women’ dance. Even when Hale told Danforth that, he denied the fact that he had actually seen the women naked. When he had to confess that he had actually seen them dancing, he confessed ‘unwillingly’, revealing his unwillingness to do so. This demonstrates how self-centered he is. As a minister, he must not lie in the first place, nor needs to he keep any beneficial details from the court; the reality that he does show that he cares more about himself than God.
He has actually been operating in Salem for a long time, and he must understand that people who are carried out of witchery are actually innocent, however throughout the play, he has actually disappointed any strong feeling for their deaths; however, when he informs Danforth that there is risk for him if Proctor and Rebecca are hanged, he ‘cries out’. The action of ‘sobbing out’ reveals an extreme feeling. The truth that he cares more about his own security than innocent individuals’s lives demonstrate his selfishness.
The theme of selfishness is again shown through the character of Danforth. When Hale and Parris ask Danforth to postpone the execution of Proctor and Rebecca, so that they have more time to convince them to confess, Danforth refuses since he believes that ‘post ponement now speaks a floundering on his part’. ‘Flounder’ is a verb describing making errors. Essentially he is saying that he can not postpone the execution since it will reveal that he is incorrect, that makes him look foolish.
The truth that he says so reveals that he does not want to lose face, even if it indicates hanging innocent people. Furthermore, he states, “I can not withhold from them the perfection of their punishment.” Using the noun ‘perfection’ here demonstrates how adamant he is, as it refers to the state of being total and proper in every way. This is paradoxical as he knows the truth. This shows his selfishness as he cares more about his credibility and the authority of the court than the lives of the innocent people. In conclusion, the theme of selfishness exists completely through a variety of characters and their actions. The characters of Abigail, Parris and Danforth demonstrate selfishness in their own different methods.