Some are entertained by history, some by controversy, some by the darker sides of human nature and still others by the need to understand the motivation behind cruel acts. All of these elements come together nicely in the film The Crucible. The Crucible offers a glimpse into one of the most heinous and darkest times in the history of the Untied States thanks, in a large part, to the acting talents of an amazing ensemble cast that tells the story of the witch trials that took place in the early colonies of America.
The cast is led by Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, Joan Allen, Bruce Davison, Jeffrey Jones and veteran actor Paul Scoffield to deliver a compelling story. The plot centers around Lewis' character; John Proctor, a well respected farmer and community member and Ryder's character; Abigail Williams and their indiscretions with each other and the consequences of jealousy and revenge. When you add these two ingredients to a community that is already in a state of paranoia over the idea of witches in their midst and evil around every corner, you can easily imagine what can and does take place.
The premise is that Abigail was, at one time, employed by the Proctors as a maid and in a moment of weakness on John's part, succumbed to the temptation of Abigail. However, John's love for his wife, Biddy, found him confessing his betrayal and the subsequent dismissal of Abigail by biddy. Abigail, being the niece of the new minister, begins living with her uncle, however, in the midst of this she influences her young cousin as well as the younger girls in the community to take part in a ceremony with the minister's Haitian maid and are soon discovered, which leads to a need to cover their sins.
This is the point when the true nature of the film is brought to light, Abigail, seeing her opportunity to reap revenge, initiates the rumor of demons and witches in the community. At this point of the story everyone becomes circumspect, the only thing needed is a finger pointed in the direction of an individual to conduct inquisitions into a persons supposed practice of witchcraft or of being demon possessed. The film offers a glimpse into the repercussions of results of hatred, jealousy and pettiness that can be found in the human soul.