The Crucible By Nicholas Hytner Essay

The Crucible By Nicholas Hytner Essay

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Nicholas Hytner 's adaptation of Arthur Miller 's The Crucible provides an interesting look into the life of the Puritans. The Crucible follows the small town of Salem as they are engulfed in the mass hysteria of witchcraft. A group of young girls is caught dancing in the woods, and thus fearing punishment claim that they were possessed by the devil. Soon the accusations run wild which resulted in the arrest of two-hundred peoples, and the execution of twenty. Today the film is regarded as an allegory for the McCarthy hearings, though it also provides an intimate look into the closed societies of colonial America. The film displays some of the themes presented in Scupins book Anthropology of Religion. Hytner’s work has become an excellent contemporary depiction of the leviathan-like power the Puritan Church had over the community, and their ability to rule through fear. Furthermore, Salam was a small, isolated town and was not exposed to outside ideas, this coupled with the Church 's power worked to demonize any outside forces. The film also depicts women 's relationship with witchcraft, and how accusations were used by the patriarchy to maintain their power over women, and how the young girls were able to gain power and influence through the act of accusation.
Before a more in-depth examination of how The Crucible works to display some of the themes presented in Scupin 's book, it is best to gain a better understanding of the Puritan communities of Salam. In 1692, the Puritans lived in a highly restrictive community. Ironically, the Puritans left England in search of religious freedom, and, in turn, created a society that was centered around religious intolerance. At this time, the government and the Church were near...


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...ts through the work of the devil. This, in turn, would further the power of the Church as they worked to remove any heretics from the community, and solidify their control.
In total, The Crucible is not only a solid depiction of the power of the Puritan society, and how it was able to asserts its control, but it is also presents some of the major themes of witchcraft discussed in Scupin’s book. The film brings these ideas into the twenty-first century, and calls for the continuation of a discussion on persecution and ill effects of group think. The witch trials were in part due to the isolation of Salam, and its strict religious codes. The hysteria was furthered by the young girls need for power, where it was usually denied. The trials have left a lasting scar on the American people, and help us prevent such widespread hysteria from happening in the future.

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