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After Meret leaves the room Anne comes back out and Martin tells her Meret does not like her. Martin decides to be near his deceased father while Meret gets the funeral arrangements set.
It is a bleak and hopeless period set in a cold and Danish village in 1623 when people without question still believed in the existence of witches and went about on thousands of merciless witch hunts to catch and then burn innocent people at the stake.
Many of these villagers would conjure up any fantasy about a friend, lover or neighbor who might or might not be a witch, whether out of hatred, jealously or the very belief that they actually were one.
Absalon asks Anne if she saw her but Anne lies and says no so Absalon believes Herlofs must have sneaked in. Herlofs Marte yells that she demands to see the Reverend Absalon. Days later Absalon's mother Meret walks into Absalon's office and hears him praying to God in a sad and guilty tone begging God for him to get out of the darkness that he is feeling deep inside himself. I lied to him." Meret asks her son to tell her everything but he tells her he must fight this battle alone. She only wished he asked her if she ever loved him before he forced her to marry him; but he says he didn't ask because she was just a child at the time.
The officer searches the area and finds blood entering the loft of the house. Absalon gets the message and approaches Herlofs Marte and she says to him, "Free me from the stake..otherwise... " The men start to raise the ladder and Herlof decides again to not say anything and instead yells to everyone, "The Devil will get you, you hypocrite, you liar! After the prayer he sees his mother sitting and listening and she asks what is tormenting him. "You've changed since Herlofs Marte was arrested" Meret says to him. The two hold one another as Absalon describes her eyes as childlike, pure and clear.
Laurentius tells Absalon that he is sick because Herlof's Marte during her interrogation put a curse on him and foretold an imminent death. He then asks his wife if she ever wished his death because he understands he did a great wrong by never asking her if she wished to marry him, and that is a wrong for which he could never make amends. I stand here by his coffin..offer you his mother's, his wife's and my own thanks for coming here today.
A violent storm erupts while Absalon is away comforting Laurentius at his home, while back at the Perdersson home the storm starts to get worse and Meret suggests that Martin go to meet his father halfway coming home; Anne suggests there's no use for Martin to go wandering in the dark and for them all to just wait there for Absalon. Anne finally lets out all her brutal honesty and coldly says to her husband, "Yes, it is true. My heart is so full of grief that God gave me a father greater and better than most men. Now that you have passed away, I am tormented by the grief I caused you.
, this film deals more about faith and spirituality, than just the fundamental basics of Christianity.
Religious or Atheist, this film touches on so many universal issues that we all question and hope exist including love, faith, forgiveness and redemption, which is all the more amazing because of the poetic way Dreyer presents it to us which doesn't give out the feeling that he is merely preaching; which I believe is an extraordinary achievement.
At the Pedersson home Meret asks Anne for the house keys and cruelly saying to her that in this house she has the keys.
When Absalon walks Meret says to him and his new wife Anne, "It's not easy for an old dog to learn new tricks." Absalon says, "Nor is it easy for a young wife to come into an old household." Anne upset quickly runs out of the kitchen and Absalon believes his mother is being too hard on Anne but his mother says that she wants Anne to be a good wife to him.