Describe the village as presented in the movie. How is it similar to or different from what you imagined?

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edcon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The 1996 film adaptation of The Crucible directed by Nicholas Hytner features a screenplay written by the playwright, Arthur Miller.  He was on set for much of the filming in Essex, Massachusetts and no doubt offered input on the set design.

In the play, Miller describes the meeting house, where church services take place, as the center of the village.  The other central location is the home of Reverend Parris; upstairs is the living quarters of the Reverend, Betty, and Abigail, and below is the public room where villagers crowd in to discuss the witchcraft allegations.  In the film, both locations are authentic to the period; the furnishings are spare and utilitarian--made from wood with no carpets, upholstery, or decorative features.  The buildings are shake-shingled and plain.

Miller wrote little about the way the characters are dressed, but in the film there is more color variation in women's dresses than one might expect, though the colors are not bright, nor printed.  White caps cover women's hair, and both men and women are clothed from head to toe. The clothes that the villagers wear are simple and reflect what they would wear in town. However, with the exception of a scene with John scything his field in short pants and stockings, no one dresses as they would as farmers in this mostly agrarian society. 

Overall, most of the mechanics of a colonial village beyond the meeting house, reverend's house, and the Proctors' house, are not depicted.  Viewers don't get a full sense of what it looked like outside these intimate interiors.

The play also does not offer much about the landscape, but the film makes great use of the coastal setting. The scene where John Proctor exclaims, "God is dead" places him in a marshy salt pond and heightens the drama of his arrest.

sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The village is presented as a typical early colonial town.  Lots of wood sided buildings.  Dirt streets, of course.  The church is a central part of the town layout, which is how it would have been back then.  There are some oddities that I'm not sure are accurate to the time period, like the hinged window on the second story that the girl tries to "fly" out of.  I have been to Salem, Massachusetts, so the proximity to the Atlantic ocean as presented in the movie is spot on compared to my expectations.  The movie portrayed the town itself as smaller than I expected it to be, but that doesn't mean it is historically accurate or inaccurate.  It's a movie based on a play that is taking some historical liberties to begin with.  The town is also quite clean in the movie.  Despite all of the dirt, rain, and mud that is/should be around, there is not much grime on/in the town itself or on the people of the town.  

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The Crucible

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