The law system was unfair during the trials, so when or if someone was accused the court would side with the accuser, unless of course, they were a witch themselves. In conclusion, the people who died and who were accused of witchcraft were not really witches, Salem and it’s inhabitants were under the influence of mass hysteria, personal beliefs and grudges that eventually became the chaos of the Salem witch hunts of
In Salem, around the early 1600’s, witch hunts broke out to try and determine the underlying reason for the twitching and ticking of the citizens. Though, perhaps witchcraft was not the reason for the abnormal ways in which these people acted, but there was a more radical explanation. In the play, The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, many young girls of Salem, including Betty Paris, Ruth Putnam, Abigail Williams, and Mary Warren were accused of going into the woods with Reverend Parris’ slave, Tituba, where she apparently had them conjuring Ruth’s dead sisters. To do this, the girls danced around a fire, some naked, all while Tituba sang songs from her native country, Barbados. This, evidently was not something these Puritan girls were to be doing,
Magistrates were local justices of the peace; thay also oversaw formal accusations and made the decision if the person was going to be tried as a witch (Rosenberg). In a boring town like the 1692 Salem, people tried to find reasons to spice up their lives, and accusing people you didn’t like of being witches was very popular. Other people thought that natural catastrophes and disease was Satan acting in the world. M... ... middle of paper ... ... The question left to ask is was there a positive outcome from all of this or did the accused die in vain?
The Salem witch trials began with the accusation of people in Salem of being witches. But the concept of witchcraft started far before these trials and false accusations occurred. In the early Christian centuries, the church was relatively tolerant of magical practices. Those who were proved to have engaged in witchcraft were required only to do penance. 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.
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 Crucible by Arthur Miller is an allegory written about the Salem witch trials in 1692. It includes a number of characters who fully conform to the trials and their consequences, it also contains the opposite, those who do not conform and fight it. Of course, as in any story there are characters in the middle that are not sure which side to take. They go along with it, not willing to stand up, but in their minds they are not completely sure whether or not what they’re doing is right. Reverend Hale is the best example of outward conformity and inward questioning.
When Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams, Reverend Samuel Parris's daughter and niece, started to exhibit strange behavior including convulsive seizures, screaming, and trances, (Oliver par. 2) and the doctor declared that the girls were under the influence of the devil, the townspeople believed him. This could be because there was an Indian War ranging less than seventy miles away, and with many refugees from the war were in tha... ... middle of paper ... ...uring the McCarthy hearings, people were prosecuted for being communists even without valid proof just as in the two witchcraft crazes, people were prosecuted for being witches without valid proof. All three were caused mainly of fear of the so-called evil. During a time of crisis, people turn to extreme solutions.
Is it possible for history to repeat itself? This seems like an unlikely concept, but it is not as far-fetched as it may seem. There have been many times throughout history that things have seemingly repeated themselves. One of the best examples of this is the Salem Witch Trials in the 1690’s being repeated in the form of the Red Scare of the 1950’s. The Red Scare is reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials in that people were accused of doing something they did not do, they were only given the choices of condemn or confess, and more harm was done than avoided as a result of the scares.
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.
Sadly, all the factors that lead to the deaths of many innocent people were all fictitious. They were simply an attempt by the Puritans to regain the control that they were slowly losing. Overall, witchcraft effecting women and some men in colonial America was portrayed rather effectively in The Devil in the Shape of a Woman in many ways. The stories in her study were absolutely fascinating. I think what made these stories more fascinating to me was the fact that all these stories are true.