The Crucible : Fictional Account Of The Salem Witch Trials

Decent Essays
The 1996 film The Crucible is a fictional account of the Salem witch trials. While there are many historical inaccuracies in the movie, it does capture some of the themes in scholarship on the period. The film presents the town of Salem in a similar way to how it is depicted in the textbook. The film gets the basic outline of the Salem witch trials right. A group of girls started a panic by accusing an enslaved woman and two other women of bewitching them. During the event more than 200 people were accused of witchcraft and 19 people were hanged, the large majority of them women (Boyer, Salem Witchcraft, 1). The depiction of the girls and women who became “possessed” and accused others of bewitching them is consistent with the…show more content…
In so doing, it misses an opportunity to explore the complicated ways that gender oppression played into the witch trials.
In fact, the movie somehow manages to make an event that was explicitly about the injustice with which women were treated into a story about a noble man who suffers and repents for his sins and ultimately dies a martyr. The Salem Witch Museum website contains a great deal of historical information about the witch trials and elaborates on the information presented in The Crucible. In addition to providing a basic overview of the major events that occurred during the witch trials, the web site features videos called “Presenting the Evidence” in which tour guides tell the stories of women who were condemned drawn from primary sources. One video called “Sarah Good’s Mistake” describes the ordinary events and behaviors that were later used against Good in her trial for witchcraft. The narrator points out that Sarah Good balked the social expectations of women in her era. Since her husband could not support their family she often had to beg. One day the pastor gave something to her daughter and Sarah murmured something under her breather. Later the pastor would testify that she cast some kind of affliction on him. Another factor that was used against Sarah Good at her trial was the fact that she did not attend meetings regularly. Her excuse for not going was that she did not have the proper clothes to wear. She was convicted of witchcraft and hanged
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