The Salem Witch Trial
The Salem Witchcraft was a series of undesirable events, which was powered by paranoia and fear. Though several witch trials occurred before the Salem Witch Trial, this was the most well known of all. Many innocent people were accused of witchcraft which resulted to 19 men and women that were hanged, 17 innocents that died in unsanitary prisons, and an 80-year old man that was crushed to death by putting stones on top of his stomach until he confesses (movie: The Crucible). In some accounts, it was reported that two dogs were stoned to death for cooperating with the Devil. Why did the Salem Witch
trial occur? Were these trials appropriate? Or were they truly a Devil's work? The Salem Witch Trials might have occurred for a variety of reasons such as people's ignorance that led to superstitions. It might have also occurred because people's crave for power, or it might also be because of fear.
In the early years of America, people were mostly unaware of certain things. Sickness, for instance, was an important issue for people didn't know how to manage or cure such complex illnesses. The Puritans, during the colonial times, didn't have much information about certain things. They came to believe that certain unexplainable events were done by a powerful source of evil thus brought about superstitions. The infamous Witch Trials done at Salem, Massachusetts, which spread across the continent, was an example of people's injustice acts in response to superstitions. One of the major cause of the Salem Witchcraft
trials was superstition, an "irrational belief or practice resulting from ignorance or fear of the unknown" (www.encyclopedia.com). A lack of scientific knowledge led many people to be convinced that, witches were responsible to the death of an animal or a livestock: John Rogger "testified that upon the threatening words " of Martha Carrier " his cattle would be strangely bewitched."(Mather, p55) John Roger believed on superstitions; thus he proposed that Martha was a witch who was killing his cows. It is easy to see how the people of Salem were so vulnerable to the notion of witches taking over their town. Furthermore Tituba, Reverend Parris's slave, practiced ritual dance and "black magic" in her early years in Africa. She influenced most of the girls in town through her stories. The girls believed on superstitions which overall started the Salem Witch Trials and made it possible for the witch trials to occur for a long duration.
The longing for power is something every person wants thus when one gets a hold of such power it is hard to give it up. The so-called "afflicted children" had the power to condemn people as witches. (The Crucible) They had the authority to accuse anybody of witchcraft to defend their mischievous acts and be seen to the public as innocent young girls. Through their power, they, the afflicted children, "were in every sense of the word, spot news." (qtd in the Trials at Salem, Benet) The children became the center of attraction thus they become popular after the witch incident and they wanted it. They continued accusing people of witchcraft and they enjoyed the glory of being a well-known person who punishes people whom they think is a servant of the devil.
Fear was seen throughout the Salem Witch incident. Puritans believed that the Devil could control any person, and cause him to say or do unordinary things. The people feared for a likely threat that the devil might do to their village. Little Betty Parris, the Reverend's daughter got sick after the young women danced in the woods. Though she was awake it seemed that she was dead. Because the doctor's in village never encountered such illness, the people thought it was the act of the devil (The Crucible). The Putnam's daughter had the same illness. The Putnams and Reverend Parris feared that they might lose their children. People feared that they might lose a loved one. Other's feared that they might be condemned as witches.
Truly, the Salem Witch Trial
was a dreadful event brought about by superstitions, the longing for power and was powered by fear. Superstitions are only imaginations yet these could become a reality if people judge others before themselves, which, like the witch trial, caused drastic consequences. The Salem witch trials is a manifestation of people's ungrateful deeds. Unfortunately, fear and the longing for power didn't end after the Witch trial faded. Today, many people fear for possible terrorist attack similar to the collapse of the Twin Towers caused by people craving for power. True peace and justice could reign in our society if people could overcome their fears, not judge others through their appearance, practice reason before believing on superstitions and lastly practicing humility and understanding.