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A View of Ecclesiastical Beliefs on Early American Law as Seen in the Film - Essay Example

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A View of Ecclesiastical Beliefs on Early American Law as Seen in the Film

According to the author of the film Arthur Miller, he lent credence to the accuracy of the historical and political context of the film by admitting that the characters were portrayed as accurately as possible as they were “drawn to the best of my ability in conformity with their known behavior”. Indeed the film accurately depicted the prevailing political and historical milieu of the time. During that time, Puritans from England settled in Massachusetts and their religious background was heavily reflected in the theme of the film. The character’s particular predisposition towards religion which became the catalyst for the prosecution and legal proceeding was also the highlighted. The subtleties of fear and anxiety during that time were also revealed. It has to be noted that during that time, Salem was in perpetual fear of Indian invasion which made the village susceptible to believe that they were being punished by God with their Puritan background. The detail of the trial, along with other circumstances in the film, was understandably altered to make the film more dramatic and be commercially attractive for public viewing. For example, the main protagonist, Abigail Williams, was actually 11 years old while John Proctor was actually 60 years old when the actual event happened. With regard to the proceeding of the trial, the film was able to portray how flawed the legal process of the time. The film was able to portray how frivolous evidence such as spectral evidence or evidence based on dreams and visions become admissible in court during that time. Testimonies based on hearsays were also considered. The sitting Chief Magistrate, William Stoughton was not even qualified as a Chief Justice because he was not even a lawyer but a theologian. As a result, the office which was supposed to dispense justice became an enforcer of religion. In 1692, witchcraft was considered a crime and anybody who is tried for the crime will be denied, legal counsel. This was adequately portrayed in the movie. The obstinacy of the magistrates in dealing with anything that has something to do with the “devil” was also dramatically highlighted. ...Show more
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This research is being carried out to reveal whether film presents a unique understanding of how the law actually works/worked versus what the law on the books as it is/was…
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