Reactions of witch-hunts were based on misconceived panic and anxiety of anything outside of the common religious beliefs. Because of poor record keeping, the exact numbers of men and women persecuted on the account of being witches may never be accurate enough to decide if it was an issue of misogyny. Citation Anne Llewellyn Barstow, “On Studying Witchcraft as Women History,” pp. 279-288 in J. Mitchell, Helen Buss Mitchell (2010) Taking Sides. Clashing Views in World History.
The Salem Witch Trials occurred in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 were killed for this. Eventually, the town admitted the trials were a mistake and repayed the families of those killed in this horrible scenario. Since then, the story of the trials has become crazy with Satanism and injustice, and it continues to baffle the imagination of our generation more than 300 years later. Several centuries ago, many practicing Christians, and those of other religions, had a strong belief that the Devil could give certain people known as witches the power to harm others in return for their loyalty.
The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 In colonial Massachusetts between February of 1692 and May of 1963 over one hundred and fifty people were arrested and imprisoned for the capital felony of witchcraft. Trials were held in Salem Village, Ipswich, Andover and Salem Town of Essex County of Massachusetts, but accusations of witchcraft occurred in surrounding counties as well. Nineteen of the accused, fourteen women and five men, were hanged at Gallows Hill near Salem Village. Hysteria had swept through Puritan Massachusetts and hundreds of people were accused of witchcraft. Why these accusations came about might account for a combination of an ongoing frontier war, economic conditions, congregational strife, teenage boredom, and personal jealousy among neighbors.
People who were considered to be their friends or neighbors were turning on them accusing them of witchcraft. This event caused problems with trust and paranoia between many people. Turns out that the Salem Witch Trials were just a hoax after all. The mass hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials began in early 1692. The trials initiated with young girls behaviors being out of the ordinary.
It was extremely dangerous to be accused of being a witch as the most common punishment was death, often by beheading or even being burnt at the stake. A large proportion of society in England believed in witchcraft, but the reasons as to why a country which was developing a belief in science and logic had faith in such a very much mythical based idea still remains a question. It is easy to follow the theory that society had developed a state of hysteria following the civil war in 1642 and wanted to direct their anger at something, but it could be something more than that. Although England had developed this belief in science there were still many unanswered questions about the world which was unexplainable at the time. Perhaps then witchcraft was an answer for these mysteries societies faced such as crop failures, disease and sometimes just bad luck.
Another possible reason the accusers may have gotten mass hysteria was if one person got scared of witches, it is human nature to say “I’m scared of witches too!” Some of the accusers had a good reason to believe certain people could have been witches. Tituba, the slav... ... middle of paper ... ...ether it could have been the Indian War or believing you have something just because someone else has it, the chances of this odd illness randomly occurring is highly unusual. The Salem Witch Trials were highly unusual and incredibly unreasonable, but it was a serious, unfortunate event. Innocent lives were taken due to a form of mass hysteria so mass hysteria is no laughing matter. Works Cited In Search of History: Salem Witch Trials.
For instance, in the ongoing altercation between Mr. Putnam, Proctor and Giles Corey, one of them might benefit from accusing the others of witchcraft to finally settle the land disputes in his favor. The trials lay a perfect backdrop for gaining power to those who have never dealt with it before the trials. This unfortunate supply of power lands in the wrong hands as a result of the witch trials. And when power and jealousy mix, unfortunately those who hold the power use it in a myriad of hurtful ways.
The Salem Witchcraft Trials as a Form of Control of the Puritan Society The Salem witchcraft trials resulted from a climate of repression, religious intolerance, and social hierarchy combined with fanaticism and the oppression of women. The Puritan leaders used the trials as a way to control the community and to prevent change in the strict social hierarchy. The trials ensured that the teachings of the church would be followed - anyone not following the church was simply accused of being a witch and punished accordingly. Witchcraft was considered a crime, and punishment was severe. The first recorded incidents of Witchcraft originated in the mind of a young girls who would supposedly use crystal balls to try and predict their future.
The Puritans of Salem, Massachusetts in the late seventeenth century believed lies to be deadly sin. They were of the opinion that the smallest false-telling could turn a person from a path to Heaven to one straight into the arms of the Devil. However, during the Salem Witch Trials in the spring and summer of 1692; lies, deceit, and false accusations became common currency. The character of Abigail Williams in Arthur Miller’s 1952 play, The Crucible, illustrates this type of behavior. Abigail Williams’s lust for John Proctor and her desire for attention motivate her to falsely accuse innocent women of witchcraft, resulting in the regret and desperation she feels in regard to the choices she made, and subsequently her decision to run away from Salem to escape the pain she has caused for herself and for others.
Some began to look upon people they feared or did not understand as possible witches and even questioned their own faith. This also presented an opportunity for people to act out against those they disliked for other reasons, under the blanket of ‘hunting’ for witches. This practice eventually swallowed European society as a whole and dominated a good part of civilian life. One of the main reasons people were so concerned about witches was their desperate need to blame someone or something for the decline of faith in Christianity. As the church was facing an uprising, faith was very important to Europeans.