Thesis: Can Thomasin become a force of nature?
Inciting Incident: Samuel is stolen by the witch.
A trial holds in a Puritan settlement that condemns William’s family to banishment; his wife Katherine, daughter, son, Thomasin, Caleb, and fraternal twins Mercy and Jonas. They make a home for themselves in complete seclusion out in the woods, house made by their own hands.
Out in a field, Thomasin, their eldest, plays with the infant Samuel. As she closes her eyes in a game of -
‘There you are,’
He’s stolen out of sight, the leaves shivering in a trail out into the forest. It’s the start of the supernatural unwind.
Threshold: Thomasin sets out on a hunt with Caleb.
Katherine mourns the death of her child as the night settles. Her fears meld with the thinning crops, a longing for home, and the sense that her daughter is too old to be cared by her family. Caleb escapes later in the night to go on a hunt for his family. He promises Thomasin that if he succeeds, they will not send her away. To assure herself on the journey, she says –
“If you don’t let me along with ya, I’ll wake mother and father this instant.”
In the woods they find themselves lost, split up – with Caleb encountering a beautiful woman, the witch, who embraces him with a kiss.
The threshold is when we first see Thomasin make a distinct choice to change her situation. She does not want to be sent away because of who she is, does not want to become an object of blame.
Midpoint: Caleb returns possessed by the witch.
Thomasin returns without Caleb to the anger and suspicion of her mother. Night falls and Caleb returns in a possessed state. He’s bled out. He’s laid to rest. He wakes in a divine fury that calls for Satan, a state that extinguishes him by the end. The twins condemn Thomasin as a witch, and she makes William know –
“They spend all day long babbling to that horned beast. They know his voice well.”
Caleb’s arrival is a false victory because there is still an aspect of hope that the family can relieve themselves of their fears that pit them against each other. Everything after, is a complete descent.
Low Point: Believing that she’s a witch, her father locks Thomasin in a shed.
The goat, Black Philip, a manifestation of the devil, The Twins, and Thomasin are locked in a shed by their father who condemns them as witches. In the dead of the night, the witch visits the shed, suckling on the goat’s milk, cackling at Thomasin’s scream.
The next morning, William finds the broken shed, the goats eviscerated, his children gone, and Thomasin laying on the ground completely unharmed. Black Phillip gouges William. Katherine tries to kill Thomasin and dies by her daughter’s hands.
This is the low point because it’s the final separation within the family whole that the witch needs in order to crack it open. The Father and Mother abandon their children.
Climax: Thomasin signs Black Philip’s book.
In shock after the death of her family, Thomasin calls upon Black Philip to speak with her. He changes into the form of a man with a book that desires her signature within. He tells her the nature of her potential –
“Wouldst thou want to see the world?”
Thomasin removes her clothes, and signs the book.
A Witch’s Sabbath burns at the center of the woods. The trees entangle with the smoke of its bonfire. Surrounding, six naked women, their hands clutched across their staves. Thomasin ascends above the fire, above the forest, and embraces her form in the moon’s eye.