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The hollywood portrayals of the salem witch trials

They're still stereotyping with witch burning, ugly hags, potions, and broomsticks.

  1. Arthur Miller's The Crucible", pp. For instance, the kind of ergotism that produces hallucinations has other symptoms - gangrene fingers and digestive-tract distress - which would likely have been reported in 1692, but were not.
  2. Both boys burst out laughing at some absurd testimony. Yes, I understood Salem in that flash; it was suddenly my own inheritance.
  3. Upham created this presentation of Tituba, known to have been a slave from Barbadoes, after the Civil War, when most slaves from Barbadoes were, in fact, of Black African heritage.
  4. Guilt in a case of witchcraft in 1692 came with a sentence of death by hanging, as per English law.

In the recently reimagined "Bewitched," young Isabel, a witch and actress, is cast in a remake of the titular show. Her father, played by Michael Caine, is disgusted, calling the show "an insult to our way of life. He says that Hollywood portrayals of witches break down into three categories: Witches with dangerous sexual powers or other sorts of exotic powers. Included in this category is "The Witches of Eastwick.

When Will Hollywood Get Witches Right?

There are plenty of examples of mainstream actresses portraying witches, especially the sexy ones. Lo and behold, "horny little devil" in the movie's words Daryl Van Horne Jack Nicholson strolls into town the next day, proceeds to seduce all three women, and in so doing introduces them to their erotic sides. Town busybody Felicia Alden is the perfect embodiment of the fear the conservative townsfolk have of these sexually confident, independent women.

She urges her husband Clyde, the town's newspaper editor, to write a story blasting the sexual antics, and even exclaims during a worship-service tirade, "I have nothing against a good f--k, Clyde. But there's something dangerous here. And somebody had to do something about it. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy star as a bunch of set-to-be-burned 17th-century witches accidentally conjured up on a 20th-century Halloween night in Salem, only to turn their wrath on trick-or-treaters.

Although surprisingly gory at times for a Disney film, an amusing encounter with a Halloween-costumed suburban Satan and shots of witches riding vacuum cleaners keep the jinx level high.

  1. See my supplemental notes about Tituba. Elizabeth Proctor was indeed pregnant, during the trial, and had a temporary stay of execution after conviction, which ultimately spared her life because it extended past the end of the period that the executions were taking place.
  2. Popular understandings include many general inaccuracies - for instance, that the witches were burned to death.
  3. John Hale several years after the trials, to had attempted to divine the occupations of her future husband with an egg in a glass -- crystal-ball style. Returning to Miller's tellings of the tale, I am always distracted by the wide variety of minor historical inaccuracies when I am exposed to his play or movie.
  4. How can the veracity of children's testimony be evaluated when children have been proven to be very impressionable and eager to give the answers that adults lead them to give? And the only person executed who recited the Lord's Prayer on the gallows was Rev.
  5. Although it is fine for artists to be inspired by whatever stimulates their creative sensibilities, Miller's descriptions of his own research, however credible they may come across and however vivid an imprint they may have left on him, are riddled with inaccuracies, and memories Miller claims to have had of the primary sources, are seriously flawed.

But as funny as the movie may be, the witches are portrayed with broad stereotypes--witch burning, ugly hags using children for their eternal youth potions, broomsticks, Satan worshipping--which many Wiccans don't find amusing.

At the heart of Thompson's third category, the historical witch, are "The Great Burning"--the Christian extermination of witches and other heretics in Europe from the 14th to the 18th centuries--and the Salem witch trials of 1692. Both supply a more serious setting for Hollywood's witchcraft films.

Proctor, played by Yves Montand, has an adulteress affair with lodger Abigail. Proctor and his wife Elisabeth soon turn Abigail out, and she seeks revenge by accusing Elisabeth of being a witch, claiming that Elizabeth manipulates young girls with her powers.

Will Hollywood ever portray witches in less stereotyped, non-allegorical ways? Most witches don't do this. Any witch worth her salt knows it's always best not to use magic to solve her problems.