Witchcraft in the 17th Century

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Witchcraft in the 17th Century

Witchcraft in Europe during the 17th century was common. It mainly

took place in Germany, but also took place in England. Witches were

associated with evil; it was believed witches inherited magical powers

from Satan in exchange for the witch’s soul. Some of these magical

powers included outrageous claims such as flying, being able to

transform and cursing bad luck on others. 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. By blaming witches for these events that occurred, it gave

people an answer and whether right or wrong, it was the only answer

the public had.

A typical ‘witch’ would usually be of lower class, a women usually

divorced with perhaps a deformity or women with a physical appearance

slightly different to other people. However records show a surprising

number of men with physi...

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...kins was present or not it is known that later that

year he created a pamphlet as a response to the criticism he faced

titled ‘Discovery of the witches’. This pamphlet was a point-by-point

reply to the critique; the content itself was full of lies and had no

sense of logic to it. Although Hopkins defended by this point in time

the public were becoming disillusioned and Hopkins did not continue

his witch-hunts.

So in conclusion witchcraft in took place in England for only a

short-period before the witch theory died out, however it was

obviously a very much widely believed idea created to answer the

questions irresolvable by society in that period. Although there were

more hangings and prosecutions in other parts of Europe, Witchcraft

was a very dark period in society where science and logic took a

serious beating.
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