|“||Imagine how proud I am to have raised a son so steadfast in his ability to consistently make the wrong decisions.||”|
— Increase to his son in Cat And Mouse
Their relationship is difficult and Increase, as an abusive father, has greatly destroyed the self-esteem of his only son Cotton, as is evident whenever the two have a conversation.
Throughout the Salem series
When Increase Mather arrives in Salem, he visits his son in his quarters to comment on Cotton's work in his stead. Do not save the harsh words and when Cotton tries to fight back, he threatens him, reminding him that you're never old enough to be beaten by his own father. Increase puts it also aware that Cotton must not show lenient and that it is better to kill innocent rather than be run off a witch; in fact, unbeknownst to Cotton, he sentenced the Barker at the stake. (Our Own Private America)
Their already precarious relationship worsened when arrested Increase Gloriana. After discovering that the woman has had sexual intercourse with his son, he rages even more against the girl, humiliating her.The entreaties the young man are useless and the father forces him to examine her first, searching for the Devil's mark, and then to watch helplessly while he banishes her forever from Salem. (Departures)
Completely ignoring the excruciating pain that his son is experiencing, Increase reveals that he despises him and that he never loved his mother, neither Cotton, that was reprehensible even when he was an infant. (Children, Be Afraid)
Cotton is visibly tried by the loss of his beloved, his father does nothing emphasizes his contempt for him. After telling him that he drove the prostitute for the good of his child, to unleash the climb in the high social classes and prestige, Increase leaving him to suffocate the sorrow in alcohol. Cotton tries again to dissuade his father from barbaric torture reminding him that those same tortures were inflicted by the Inquisition to the Puritans, who considered them heretics. Then the witch hunter replied that he simply fights fire with fire. (The House of Pain)
Cotton is incredulous about the guilt of his friend John Alden and confesses his doubts to his father, but the latter warns him on the malice of witches and that Cotton shouldn't trust anyone but the will of God. The young man, however, driven by the speech of Isaac, decided to defend John Alden during the trial. (Cat and Mouse) Cotton Mather took the defense of John Alden in the latter's process, going against the will of Increase, which is the accusing lawyer during the trial. (Ashes, Ashes)
Cotton is still shocked by the behavior of his father, who reveals all his contempt that drive to another argument that ends with the death of Increase. By deception, in fact, Cotton is led to believe that Increase lost his head and had kidnapped Mary Sibley in order to kill her. As he tries to reason with his father, Cotton stabs the man with a sword to save Mary Sibley. (All Fall Down)
The ghost of Increase Mather visits his son to warn him about the real threat of witches and ask forgiveness for the behavior he has had in life towards him. With great disbelief of the boy, the ghost of the father says he loves him before disappearing forever, leaving Cotton knees, alone and crying in his room. (Dead Birds)
- Cotton Mather: "Where are going? There's no one left to burn at this hour."
- Increase Mather: "Watch your tongue boy. Do you think you're too old to be whipped by your father?" [kisses Cotton on the cheek]
- — Our Own Private America
- Cotton Mather: "This is what I have been trying to tell you and now I see it to be true. That in our zeal to rid Satan from our midsts we were instead killing innocents!"
- Increase Mather: "Do not presume to instruct me."
- Cotton Mather: "We are doing the Devil's work for him!"
- — Departures
- Increase Mather: "Cotton I've been in search of you all morning. I should have realized you'd be someplace where whisky is served."
- — Children Be Afraid
- Increase Mather: "It is not hate compels me here but love."
- Cotton Mather: "Love? You have never known an instant of love! Where, oh, where did you discover love?"
- Increase Mather: "Where else? In Hell. Something happened to me there, most unexpected compassion for and with all who suffer."
- — Dead Birds
- Increase Mather: "Cotton, you are in Hell, even now. I have seen it. You are burning. And I cannot bear to see it."
- Cotton Mather: "If what you say is true, it is too late."
- Increase Mather: "Save yourself."
- Cotton Mather: "Save myself? But how?"
- Increase Mather: "I do not know. I will tell you now what I never told you in life. You are a better man than I. Your mind is deeper, your words are truer, and your heart, your heart is far more pure. Do not let my failures be yours. And know this: I love you."
- — Dead Birds