Modern Day Witch Hunts and Similar Events Through out time many people have viewed witches as bad people. Even in religion witches are viewed as workers of Satan himself. “A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them” Leviticus 20:27 King James Bible. Throughout our world’s history there have been thousands if not millions of witch hunt cases around the world.
Throughout British history superstitions regarding witches have affected the lifestyle of the people and literature of the world. One question that everyone wants to know, is if European witchcraft really exists. If it exists merely as a concept, a body of beliefs or whether it exists objectively is the question that baffles people. But whether witchcraft exist or not the concept of witchcraft dominated the period of the late Middle Ages through the Renaissance and the Reformation and down to the Eighteenth century. "Estimated over 100,000 to 200,000 people were executed and millions were tortured and terrified by the government" (Russel 658).
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. Although a few of these elements may represent leftovers of pre-Christian religion, the old religion probably did not persist in any organized form beyond the 14th century. The popular image of witchcraft, perhaps inspired by features of occultism or ceremonial magic as well as by theology concerning the Devil and his works of darkness, was given shape by the inflamed imagination of inquisitors and was confirmed by statements obtained under torture. The late medieval and early modern picture of diabolical witchcraft can be attributed to several causes. First, the church’s experience with such dissident religious movements as the Albigenses and Cathari, who believed in a radical dualism of good and evil, led to the belief that certain people had allied themselves with Satan.
With limited technology and medical advances, people needed a reason for so much horror and death. Society may have felt cursed and needed a figure-head, a hideous monster to blame. In 1563, shortly after the outbreak of Black Death witchcraft was deemed a capital offense in England. Which resulted in the torturing, drowning, burning, or hanging of an estimated 200,000 supposed witches from 1484 until around 1750. Although both men and women were accused of witchcraft, an estimated 75% to 85% of those were women.
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.
In important respects, the great witch hunts began with the invention of the stereotypical witch in texts by professional demonologists. Prior to the publication of these texts, there was already widespread belief in magic both harmless and malicious. But not until the practice of magic became a religious warfare between God and his enemy the devil did community concerns about the practice of magic evolve into the desperate, sadistic trials that occurred in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the idea that witchcraft was a reality rather than a myth suddenly made a comeback. Trials of individual witches in early modern Europe always began with specific accusations brought against a supposed witch by one or more of her neighbours. When the printing press was invented, writings could be distributed around Europe.
The Salem Witch Trials began when Betty Paris, Abigail Williams, and some of their friends began to act strange with odd fits (Hall 1). Because many mental and emotional disorders were not understood, the people of Salem believed it was the work of witchcraft. When sickness or even misfortune came, the most Bednar 2 sensible reason was witchcraft (Godbeer 28). The Salem Witch Trials were a prime example of the prejudice in early America with the different personal lives and beliefs (Adams 26). The prejudice and panic caused much instability in the Salem comm... ... middle of paper ... ...n in Salem.
In the tragedy of Macbeth, there are many different motifs used in the play. One of those motifs includes witchcraft and that is what I will be talking about during the course of this paper. Witchcraft is a topic that has been talked about and believed in for many centuries, especially in Shakespeare’s era. Witchcraft has been believed to be something associated with Satan and darkness. During the Burning Times, nine million women were killed for the accusation of being witches.
A witch hunt is usually thought of as a search for witches or practitioners of black magic. Throughout history however there have been many witch hunts, although those who were persecuted were not always called witches. Other names for them were communists, spies, and heretics. The arrests spawned from these witch hunts were usually based on false accusations, and the fates of those on trial, such as those portrayed in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, were usually decided before the trial even began. After discovering about witch hunts time and time again one begins to wonder why there have been so many witch hunts all over the world in all different times.
As one can see, the chaotic Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692 were caused by superstition, the strict puritan lifestyle, religious beliefs, and hysteria. Puritan Lifestyle was one ... ... middle of paper ... ...in their family to become sick and possibly die. Many people were accused of witchcraft. More than twenty people died all together. One person was flattened to death because he was accused of witchcraft.