In Salem, an excellent public reputation is essential if one is to be accepted in the community. In the beginning of the play, what clues are there that Abigail’s reputation has become questionable?
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In the first Act, Parris acknowledges that he saw Abigail (his niece) and his daughter dancing in the forest. He also questions Abigail as to the rumors of why she was dismissed by Goody Proctor. He specifically asks if her name is not "white".
Your name in the town - it is en-tirely white, is it not? (Parris)
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 comes so rarely to the church this year for she will not sit so close to something soiled. What signified that remark? (Parris)
Lastly, Parris notes that his niece has not been offered another position in town and wonders why.
And yet it has troubled me that you are now seven month out of their house, and in all this time no other family has ever called for your service. (Parris)