Witchcraft, Magic and Rationality Social Anthropology seeks to gauge an understanding of cultures and practices whether they are foreign or native. This is achieved through the studying of language, education, customs, marriage, kinship, hierarchy and of course belief and value systems. Rationality is a key concept in this process as it affects the anthropologist’s interpretation of the studied group’s way of life: what s/he deems as rational or plausible practice. Witchcraft and magic pose problems for many anthropologists, as its supernatural nature is perhaps conflicting to the common Western notions of rationality, mainly deemed superior. In this essay I will be exploring the relationship between rationality and witchcraft and magic, and will further explore rationality as a factor of knowledge.
The People of the Middle Ages were susceptible to the dangers of health problems, bad weather, financial strain, and war. Ones seeking a fix to their problems would go to these witches to cultivate positive energy over them and to rid them of the evils in their lives. These witches would create potions from earth grown elements and people would buy them to cure illnesses and protect their health. Even though the witches intentions were good, the Christian church seen them as heretics and treated them as devil worshippers. Malevolent witches were considered evil and focused their energy on causing harm to society by causing accidents, bad luck, illnesses, a... ... middle of paper ... ...cery.
The thought that witches could control their mind and body and make them do crazy things. They were determined to rid Salem of the devil. The chaos was not only in Salem. Communities throughout New England were concerned about witchcraft. All throughout there were accusations about witches in the community.
During the Burning Times, nine million women were killed for the accusation of being witches. Witches were greatly feared because they were known to have great power and magic as their weapon. Although they were greatly feared, they were also of great interest to many people. Till this day, people are still writing novels, making movies, and creating music about witches, witchcraft, and the great power that they possess which has come to be called magic. During the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth century, witchcraft was very strongly believed in and the consequences were barbaric if you were caught being involved with witches, the devil, or any sort of evil.
An example of this viewpoint can be explained by Charles W. Upham. In 1867, Upham wrote that Mather orchestrated to bring about the witch fad in order to "increase his own influence over an infatuated people.” He did this by convincing the people that he could "vanquish evil spirits" and "hold Satan himself in chains by his prayers and piety" (Detweiler 1975: 598). Others have even gone as far as to blame the girls for witchcraft craze in Salem stating that they were pretending and were acting unusual from how girls should normally behave to garner attention (Detweiler 1975: 600). Many anthropologists have theories as to why people believed in the witchcraft in Salem so strongly and why it caused such a frenzy. Some state that witchcraft was a way to explain misfortunes that could not be explained and somewhere to place blame, others believed that witchcraft operated as some form of social control and others had a theory that witchcraft operated as way to release social tensions (Detweiler 1975: 601).
"More supernatural are witches who are slaves of aberration and addiction that are consideration weird" ( 3041). "The word witch derives from the Old English noun wicca 'sorcerer', and the verb wiccian 'to cast the spell'." The term does not really have a sinister meaning to it. It comes from the adjective 'white' which means to help others. Throughout British history superstitions regarding witches have affected the lifestyle of the people and literature of the world.
Witch possess a special organ called mangu, located somewhere behind the sternum or attached to the liver.” Woman/man may become a witch through the influence of another witch or contact with another witch. Witches do not intend to do harm; they are as much the victims of witchcraft as those upon whom they practice it. They have innate power and often don’t know what they are doing. The belief in witchcraft helps people explain the causes of illness, death and misfortune experienced by a person or a group when no other explanations can be found. Most of the time when witches create injury and calamity, they were punished by death, sometimes by exile.
(Kent 26). Witchcraft and witches was believed by many people in the Salem village. The belief of witchcraft was thought of as an evil in the Salem Village. There was always danger that an innocent person might be accused of witchcraft. (Kent 15).
The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 were notorious occasions in American History. They have been the subject of verifiable articles, religious talks, books, plays, and movies. Both in the realm of the scholarly world and pop-society of American social order, the Salem Witch Trials have interested gatherings of people from directly after they happened throughout the twentieth century. In a few ways, the exact truth that investment in this occasion has spread over crosswise over both time and disciplines makes the trials deserving of study. In spite of the fact that the United States is an adolescent nation, there is a ton of rich history.
James I was personally terrified yet fascinated by witches after an attempt on his life by Agnes Sampson, a convicted witch. This led to the practice of witchcraft becoming punishable by death. A theme of such forbidden ideas, shrouded in the mystery of the supernatural would surely have horrified those watching the play yet left them intrigued. The witches embody a malign and demonic intelligence. They utilise this to guide the main themes and characters within the play, notably by their reversal of nature when chanting 'Fair is foul and foul is fair'.