Analysis of an American Trial: The Salem Witch Trials

explanatory Essay
1367 words
1367 words

Analysis of an American Trial: The Salem Witch Trials The Salem Witch Trials all began on January 20, 1692, with nine-year-old Elizabeth "Betty" Parris and eleven-year-old Abigail Williams, daughter and niece of the village reverend Samuel Parris, beginning to exhibit strange behavior, such as blasphemous screaming, convulsive seizures, trance-like states and mysterious spells. Within a short period of time, several other Salem girls began to illustrate similar behavior; physicians resolved that the girls were under the control of Satan. Reverend Parris conducted prayer services and public fasting in hopes of relieving the evil forces that tormented them. In an effort to expose the "enchantress", one man baked a "witch cake" made with rye bran and the urine of the ill girls. This counter-magic was meant to reveal the identities of the "witched" to the ailing girls. Pressured to identify the cause of their misfortune, the girls named three women, including Tituba, Samuel Parris' slave, as witches. On February 29, warrants were dispatched for the arrests of Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne. Although Osborne and Good sustained guiltlessness, Tituba confessed to seeing Lucifer, who appeared to her "sometimes like a hog and sometimes like a great dog." What's more, Tituba certified that there was a collaboration of witches at work in Salem. On March 1, Magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathon Corwin investigated the three women in the courthouse in Salem Village. Tituba confessed to pursuing black magic. Over the next few weeks, other villagers came forward and testified that they too had been traumatized by or had seen strange phantoms of some of the village members. As the witch-hunting prolonged, charges were made toward many different people. Frequently unmasked were women whose behavior was somehow disturbing to the social order and formalities of the time. Some of the accused had records of unlawful pastimes, including witchery, but others were faithful churchgoers and people of high status in the society. From Mid-March to early April, Martha Corey, Rebecca Nurse, Elizabeth Proctor, and Sarah Cloyce were accused of witchcraft. Soon after Corey, Nurse, and Proctor were examined before Magistrates Hathorne, Corwin, Deputy Governor Thomas Danforth, and Captain Samuel Sewall. During this analysis, John Proctor was also jailed. Then Abigail Hobbs, Bridget Bishop, Giles Corey and Mary Warren were taken into account. The only one to confess was Hobbs. On April 22, Nehemiah Abbot, William and Deliverance Hobbs, Edward and Sara Bishop, Mary Easty, Mary Black, Sarah Wildes, and Mary English were examined before Hathorne and Corwin.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes the salem witch trials, which began on january 20, 1692. the girls named three women, including tituba, as witches.
  • Explains how magistrates john hathorne and jonathon corwin investigated the three women in the courthouse in salem village. tituba confessed to pursuing black magic. other villagers testified that they too had been traumatized by or had seen strange phantoms of some of the village members.
  • Narrates how martha corey, rebecca nurse, elizabeth proctor, and sarah cloyce were accused of witchcraft from mid-march to early april.
  • Explains that mary easty was released from prison, but was arrested again due to the clamor and protests of her accusers. the magistrates based their judgments and evaluations on several kinds of abstract evidence.
  • Explains that bridget bishop was the first to be named guilty of witchcraft and doomed to death. one of the judges stepped down from the court, unhappy with its transactions.
  • Describes how rebecca nurse, susannah martin, elizabeth howe, sarah good, and sarah wildes were executed, followed by george jacobs, sr., martha corey, george burroughs and john and elizabeth proctor.
  • Describes how martha corey, mary easty, alice parker, ann pudeator, dorcas hoar, margaret scott, wilmott redd, samuel wardwell, and abigail faulkner were tried and condemned.
  • Narrates how thomas brattle denounced the salem witch-hunt and governor phips discontinued the court of oyer and terminer. the general court fabricated the superior court to examine the remaining witchcraft cases.
  • Explains that the trials ignited controversy because it is obvious that one cannot stake a person's life upon the accusations, and opinions of children with imaginative minds.
  • Explains that the formal trial followed 17th-century english precedents, in which the accused were not represented by lawyers but could question accusers and witnesses.
  • Explains that the verdicts reached are viewed as horrible mistakes brought on by young girls, who out of boredom and personal jealousies turned to the accusations and "murders" of innocent people.
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