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Religion: the town elders and Ichabod Crane's father

Religion is present in the first meeting between Ichabod and the town elders, who believe in the supernatural existence of the headless horseman and for whom salvation lies not in science, but only in the Bible, i.e. in metaphysics. Religion is also present in Ichabod’s father, who kills his witch wife "to save her soul" (16: 58), which means he also represents metaphysics. There is thus a similarity between religion and Ichabod’s understanding of science: both oppose magic. There is also a difference: religion acknowledges the existence of magic (6: 14.52), Ichabod’s science does not.

However, Puritan religion also means something else in the movie. Ichabod's father, the murderer of his mother, is “a black tyrant behind a mask of righteousness” (16: 58) . Now tyranny is a social term, righteousness is morality gone wrong, and morality also belongs to the social dimension. In addition, the village elders who reject Ichabod's scientific methods via the Bible (6: 17.40-52) are themselves responsible for the appearance of the headless horseman, for at the bottom of the murders that take place is greed for land, which gives rise to social injustice. In important ways, religion is thus a mere façade behind which social evils mushroom.

daniel.candel@uah.es | ©2008 Daniel Candel Bormann