Adapting From Page to Screen
The Crucible, play and movie, do an exquisite job of displaying the utter turmoil within Salem and other towns held together by Puritanism. In both interpretations of the story, intolerance and hysteria leads Salem down the path of disintegration. Arthur Miller comments on why he wrote such a story:
“Upham had not only written a broad and thorough investigation of what was even then an almost lost chapter of Salem's past but opened up to me the details of personal relationships among many participants in the tragedy.”
Miller accomplished his goal of portraying the intimate lives of people involved in the witch trials, and gives his readers a thrilling yet accurate portrait of this brief time of mass intolerance and hysteria in history.
The Crucible is set in a society where the church and the state are not separated, and religion is a rigid form of Protestantism many know as Puritanism. The town is based on understood knowledge that moral law and state law do not simply overlap, but are the same and that sin and concern of one’s soul should be of public interest. Any individual who does not strictly follow the laws set in place exemplifies danger to society and will bring the wrath of God upon the town. In Salem, everyone belongs to God or the devil and opposition to this belief is commonly linked with witch craft. This way of life utilizes the underlying logic which ultimately led to the Salem witch trials. The trials imprint all hazy inhabitants of Salem with witch craft and satanic arts and find it inevitable that these people must be abolished to preserve the holiness of the town.
Characters such as Danforth and Parris retain their image and are minimally transformed to fit the screen. Small differences in action occurs in transference from stage to screen to make the movie entertaining and grappling to a larger audience, however Parris and Danforths appearance always radiates a sentiment of unquestionable authority, and in Parris’ case, selfishness and self-preservation to retain the rigidity and morals of Salem. When Danforth says “a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it” he gives us the ultimate form of...