Seven Samurai

1058 Words5 Pages
The film Seven Samurai is about a village of farmers who have repeatedly suffered yearly raids by a group of merciless bandits. These bandits steal from the farmers and kidnap the women. Unable to protect themselves, the farmers decide to hire a samurai to do the job for them. This changes the course of their lives in numerous ways. Initially, not everyone in the village agrees with the idea of hiring a group of samurai to kill the bandits and protect them. They are indifferent about the situation and do not want to confront the truth that hiring the samurai is their only chance of survival. The villagers view the samurai as their enemy. They are infuriated by the way the samurais have acted towards them. It is important to understand the time period, the Sengoku Age, in which this film is set. The Sengoku Age was an extremely bloody period of time. There was intense and rigorous fighting going on. It is “estimated that there was more fighting in Japan in terms of intensity, frequency, and duration than anywhere else in the world at this time.” The class system played a vital role during this period of time as well. The Japanese society was divided into a rigid four-class system which consisted of the warrior (aka samurai), farmer, artisan, and merchant. Samurai warriors “pledged their loyalty and used their swords in service of Japanese feudal warlord also known as Daimyo.” However, during the Segoku Age many of these Daimyo were killed and their castles were destroyed. This left the samurai with know one to serve. Eventually these Daimyo-less samurai became known as ronin. Ronin either followed the road of becoming bandits, such as those who raided the villages, or they sought to apply their skills to other honorable causes such as assisting innocent farmers. The entire situation left the villagers indifferent about samurais overall. It is interesting to examine how the relations ship between the samurais and the villagers develops. At the beginning of the film there is an immense amount of tension between the samurai and the villagers. The farmers in the village are a very weak and terrified group. They lack self-confidence and belief in themselves. They trust no one. This is evident when Manzo, one of the villagers cuts his daughter, Shino’s hair and forces her to behave like a man. This would ensure him that previous acts done by bandits (samurai) before would not be repeated.
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