Remember that the play takes place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. The Puritans' government is a theocracy - ruled by God through religious officials. This is important to note as you recognize the importance and power of the character Reverend Parris.
The play opens with the town's minister, Reverend Parris, praying in front of his daughter's bed. The rumor is that his daughter, Betty, is the victim of witchcraft. Reverend Parris has sent for Reverend Hale, an expert on witchcraft, to determine the cause of Betty's illness. This is merely just the beginning of the hysteria that unfolds in the play.
As you read Act I, complete the attached study guide attached to help you with your understanding of the play. You will turn this in on the next page/lesson. I have included a PDF version and a word version.