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.
She was accused of having a "malignant touch," Hale noted, and her medicines were said to have "extraordinary violent effects." When people refused to take her medical advice, he added, "their diseases and hurts continued, with relapse against the ordinary course, and beyond the apprehension of all physicians and surgeons. "(P.21) Hale also mentioned that Jones was believed to possess psychic powers: "some things which she foretold came to pass accordingly; other things she could tell of ... she had no ordinary means to come to the knowledge of. "(P.20) Hale's writings showed that stealing, and other crimes such as fornication and infanticide, were regularly associated with witchcraft, by both the clergy and the larger pop... ... middle of paper ... ... deaths of fathers, husbands, brothers, or sons. This would happen because these women were part of a society with an inheritance system designed to keep property in the hands of men.
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.
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.
This is known to cause all kinds of problems from rashes to high-blood pressure and heart disease. The adults would likely ask the girls if the people tormenting them with witchcraft were the people the adults considered in the community to be most-likely allied with the devil: outcasts or political rivals. Some of the girls, under this heavy questioning, might actually have come to believe they were bewitched, while others knowingly lied to please the adults and found themselves trapped in their own lies (Krystek). If the girls believed that someone had bewitched them, that would have created enough stress in their minds to cause physical symptoms. Many of the symptoms the girls had been nearly identical to a condition called hysteria.
There are many literatures works and in-depth studies over the trials. Even now, there is still no certain reason why or how the hysteria of witchery befell on the village. The Salem Witch Trials are best described by George Lincoln Burr: The episode is one of the nation's most notorious cases of mass hysteria, and has been used in political rhetoric and popular literature as a vivid cautionary tale about the dangers of isolationism, religious extremism, false accusations and lapses in due process. (197) There were different theories of why the Salem girls acted the way they did. Family feuds, influences, ergot poisoning, and the bewitchment of Satan are potential concepts of the witchcraft hysteria.
Not only was this found in this novel, but it is also featured in The Crucible. In Arthur Miller’s play, hysteria is present through to the end. It is very evident that it is “contagious.” When one of the girls saw someone hurting them, the rest of them imagined it as well. When one of them started to call out names of the witches, the rest in excitement would too start calling out names. It served as a way to cover up, as it was concluded at the end of Salem witch trials that there was
They are known for a wide range of capabilities. There are various theories for how a witch obtains her powers, a few popular ones include: having sex with the devil, a familiar, or the study of dark magic. Witches are known to cast spells, curses, conjure the dead, as well as voodoo and possession. Some cultures believe the result of becoming a witch that she loses her beauty or her humanity. The stronger a witch grew the more hideous she became, gaining sores, warts, old age, discoloring in the skin, and overall hag-like appearance.
He may have not known at the time but the witches planted a seed in Macbeth causing his soul to turn away from good eternally. During Shakespeare's time, witchcraft, superstition, and black magic were very popular topics. Most stories and plays had some sort of witchcraft or supernatural element in them. The superstitions that were popular during this era were based on many religious beliefs (Pillai). It is recorded that close to 247 women were taken to trail for engaging in witchcraft (Pillai).
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.