These skills which were once respected as sacred were now being sought out as works of malevolence. Priests and educated doctors viewed women as threats to their practices. Women were blamed and used as scapegoats for birth defects, male impotency and lack of control of their sexual desires. Witchcraft was relentlessly thought as the work of the devil with only sinful and immoral intentions. Julio Caro Baroja explains in his book on Basque witchcraft that women who were out casted from society and unable to fulfill their womanly duties became witches as a way to compensate for her failed life.
Witchcraft had once, before the Middle Ages had been accepted as the powers of medicine and good deeds; however, the church of that time had proclaimed the craft as the work of the devil and the actions of heretics. From then on witches were greatly dreaded. They believed that they had special powers that allowed them to cause harm to those that they had quarrels with; they could read minds, tell the future, bring up ghosts of the dead and force the holy to perform unholy acts. There was only one way to save someone who sold their soul to the devil for the gifts of witchcraft, to kill them (Dickinson 4). People were branded witches for unrelated mishaps.
Act 1 Scene 1 Film Version of William Shakespeare's Macbeth In Elizabethan England, witches and the supernatural were a very genuine threat to everyday life. They were recognised as an antithesis to the divinely ordained order of the universe, often attributed with unexplained disease to neighbours and to livestock, as quoted in Act 1, Scene 3 when the second witch notifies the others that she has been 'killing swine'. The Elizabethan population did not commonly believe that witches were born supernatural beings, rather that they gained their powers by selling their souls to Satan. Indeed, this play was extremely relevant to modern life around the time of its first production. James I was personally terrified yet fascinated by witches after an attempt on his life by Agnes Sampson, a convicted witch.
Probably an evil haggish-like women who has signed a pact with the devil if we think of it in the English sense. So witchcraft must be evil doings; putting curses on people to make their life miserable, using wicked spells to transform humans to frogs etc. But does this hold true to everyone's idea of what witchcraft is.People's believes on the subject of witchcraft might differ between different cultures. Such is the case in the tragic story "I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem" by Maryse Conde. Certain groups and individuals in the book, have contradicting thoughts of witchery.
But in the late Middle Ages (13th century to 14th century) opposition to alleged witchcraft hardened as a result of the growing belief that all magic and miracles that did not come unambiguously from God came from the Devil and were therefore manifestations of evil. Those who practiced simple sorcery, such as village wise women, were increasingly regarded as practitioners of diabolical witchcraft. They came to be viewed as individuals in league with Satan. Nearly all those who fell under suspicion of witchcraft were women, evidently regarded by witch-hunters as especially vulnerable to the Devil’s blandishments. A lurid picture of the activities of witches emerged in the popular mind, including covens, or gatherings over which Satan presided; pacts with the Devil; flying broomsticks; and animal accomplices, or familiars.
Between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, the seven deadly sins had came into place which had taken the place of the ten commandments.3 This made it sins against God rather than sins against fellow neighbours and the community. "witchcraft had been previously been the crime of harming neighbours by occult means ; now clerical intellectuals tied it firmly to devil-worship." creating a new vision of witches of being extreme heretics therefore leading the way to large persecutions to eradicate this evil and cause of disord... ... middle of paper ... ...ration of the killing of women, London, 2000,pg 18 5 ibid.,pg 19 6 ibid.,pg 15 7 Norman, Davies, Europe A history, London, 1996, pg 556 8 Rob Briggs, Witches and Neighbours, London, 1996 pg 191 9 ibid.,pg 273 10 Norman, Davies, Europe A history, London, 1996, pg 566 11 Rob Briggs, Witches and Neighbours, London, 1996, pg 324 12 H.G. Koenigberger,, George. L. Mosse, G. Q. Bowler, europe in the sixteenth century, 2nd ed, England, 1989, pg 135 13 Rob Briggs, Witches and Neighbours, London, 1996, pg 323 14 ibid., pg 324 15 ibid.,pg 8 Bibliography: Briggs, Rob, Witches and Neighbours, London, 1996 Clarke, Stuart, Thinking with demons: the idea of witchcraft in early modern Europe, England, 1999 Davies, Norman, Europe A history, London, 1996 Heinemann, Evelyn, Witches : A psychoanalytical exploration of the killing of women, London, 2000 Koenigberger, H..G, George.
The people in the Jacobean era believed in the strong presence of evil that plagued their world and specifically accused witches to be responsible for such evil. These influential beliefs can be seen as a common motif in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, where the witches have shaped Macbeth’s fate. Moreover the influence and fear of witches and witchcraft in Jacobean society has led to chaotic persecution of those associated with the practice and in Macbeth, the influence of witchcraft incited terror on one king and make decisions of an entire nation. The appearance and abilities of witches and witchcraft are motifs in Jacobean society and in Macbeth. In Jacobean society, a witch’s appearance were described as old, wrinkled, lean and deformed.
There was a thousands of people believing that evil Witches existed. They were seen as evil people, primarily women, who devoted their lives to hurting and killing others through black magic and evil sorcery. The Catholic Church the time taught them that Witches did not exist. It was the heresy to say that they were real. For example, the 5th century Synod of St. Patrick who believes that there is a vampire in the world, that is to say, a witch, is real whoever it comes down to reputation upon a living being shall not be received into church until he revokes with his own voice the crime that he has committed.
Protestants and reformed Catholics believed and preached that magic was a sin that was controlled by the devil and that the only way to protect themselves against this evil was to kill the d... ... middle of paper ... ...the witch-craze was fueled by superstition, which caused social intolerance. A lot of people were victimized because their beliefs differed from majority of the population and some people were just falsely accused. The Protestant and Catholic churches were responsible for these witch hunts because they were the ones who declared it a crime, determined how the issue would be handled and ordered for these people to be prosecuted. Basically anyone who didn’t conform to the Christian beliefs and questioned authority were accused and punished. As a result of these witch hunts, majority of Europe converted to orthodox Christianity.
The only reason people do not accept Wiccans today is because of their awful past, and because of their past people still view them as Satan's pawn. The Wicca Religion does have different beliefs, but their main purpose is to try to make the earth more peaceful. Throughout the years, many Wiccans have been compared to Witches. The article “What is Wicca” written by Herne, a true follower of Wicca, states Witches have been associated as being evil, heathen, which is a type of paganism religion, and unrighteous (3). When someone hears the word Wicca, they automatically think of Witchcraft and Satan.