Modern Witchcraft and the Witch Trials Essay

Modern Witchcraft and the Witch Trials Essay

Length: 1275 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

For hundreds of years people were tortured and executed, because they were believed to be witches. Based on three primary accounts by Pope
The French novelist, Victor Hugo, once said, “There is in every village a torch- the school teacher; and an extinguisher; the priest.” Although Victor Hugo lived in the age of modernism, the medieval idea of intolerance, promoted through religion and politics, was not foreign to him; had he been alive two hundred years earlier, his defiant attitude and constant séances to contact his deceased daughter, may have gotten him accused of witchcraft, or heresy.
Although the Puritan Salem Witch trials have received great notoriety, (Placeholder2) the basis of their justification of intolerance may well have been founded in the rulings and writings that originated from the papal throne of Pope Innocent VIII. The Puritan society that was formed to promote a more pure way of living, found itself justifying the very acts of elitism that they had accused the Church of England using against them. They adopted a system of witch trials and moral justice that could have very well come straight out of the “Hammer of Witches” that was compiled by Pope Innocent VIII’ German Inquisitors. (Placeholder3)
In The Hammer of witches, vigilantes are instructed to begin with torture to gain a confession and then take the accused aside to get the confession. If a confession is not publicly given then more torture is applied. In Salem, an 80 year old farmer by the name of Giles Cory refused to confess his guilt and enter a plea, so he was tortured to death by way of heavy stones being placed on his chest until he could no longer breathe. He was said to have chosen death because he realized that there was no way o...


... middle of paper ...


... being made the accused. The almost comical twist of the witch hunts is the fact that those with moral courage and strength would have been the accused, and therefore the ones NOT surviving.
We can see that this is not new, and is not about religion but about power and control. We can point fingers and call the religious amongst us fanatics or hypocrites, but really there seeming intolerance is more about fear, and less about piety, more about propaganda and less about obedience. When power seeking people are given free reign then they no longer need to pretend to be thinking of “the greater good” and can commit genocide unchecked.
In Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, “les Miserables”, he writes, “Honesty does not fear authority”, but I would add my own conclusion: fear corrupts authority so that honesty must bow to death and a hope for a better life in the life to come.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Trials Of The Witch Trials Essay

- According to Jones, modern estimates suggest perhaps 100,000 trials took place between 1450 and 1750, with an estimated execution total ranging between 40,000 and 50,000. This death toll was so great because capital punishment was the most popular and harshest punishment for being accused of witchcraft. Fear of the unknown was used to justify the Puritans contradictive actions of execution. Witch trials were popular in this time period because of religious influences, manipulation through fear, and the frightening aspects of witchcraft....   [tags: Witchcraft, Salem witch trials, Witch-hunt, Salem]

Powerful Essays
1765 words (5 pages)

The Trials Of The Salem Witch Trials Essay example

- The Salem witch trials is possibly one of the most controversial events in early American history, where many innocent individuals were wrongly accused of witchcraft. Even though the trials occurred over three hundred years, ago, they still continue to be studied with great interest; however there is still not a conclusion to what truly caused the hysteria. Although the settlers in Salem, Massachusetts were superstitious, they could have prevented the trials from occurring, a possible similarity to our modern judicial system....   [tags: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, Jury, Salem]

Powerful Essays
1131 words (3.2 pages)

Analysis And Comparison Of The Witch Trials Essay examples

- Analysis and Comparison of the Witch Trials In modern times, the most infamous witch trials are the one that occurred in Salem. These specific witch trials are known for the unjust killings of several accused women and men. The Salem witch trials of 1692, is a big portion of what people refer to, when they want to analyze how Puritan life was during the colonial period. According to ‘Salem Witch Trials’, “The witch trials are often taken as a lens to view the whole Puritan period in New England and to serve as an example of religious prejudice…” (Ray p.32)....   [tags: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, Witch-hunt]

Powerful Essays
849 words (2.4 pages)

The Salem Witch Trials Of 1692 Essay

- In the sixteenth century, witchcraft accusations were more prevalent and somewhat common than they are in modern society. One of the most popular witch hunts of American History of the sixteenth century, that has received popularity amongst modern culture and scholars, was the Salem witch hunts otherwise known as the Salem witch trials of 1692. But, Salem was not the only town in New England that had witch trials in 1692. Richard Godbeer’s book, “Escaping Salem, The Other Witch Hunt of 1692,” is one of the very few books that talks about the other witch trials that took place in New England....   [tags: Witchcraft, Salem witch trials, Witch-hunt, Magic]

Powerful Essays
967 words (2.8 pages)

The Salem Witch Trials Essay

- The New England Colonies of seventeenth century America were quite different from the other colonies in North America at this time. The climate was colder and the rules of religion much stricter, thus having an impact on the colonists living in this colony. The physical and cultural environments of these colonies were without question a factor that played a major part in the Salem Witch Trials. John M. Murrin’s essay Coming to Terms with the Salem Witch Trials helps detail the events of these trials and explains why they might have occurred....   [tags: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, Massachusetts]

Powerful Essays
1155 words (3.3 pages)

The Death Of The Salem Witch Trials Essays

- The one deathless emotion an inferior man will have is fear, specifically within the fear of the unknown. But what he wants above everything else is the hope for safety. As decades pass, the main goal for humankind is to develop and acquire plenty of knowledge to discover the mystery of the unknown. Humans throughout history have focused on discovering new ideas and things, not for the entertainment but for the need to feel safe in this world. This civilization lives in a path in which fear of the unknown creates a mass hysteria in every part of our lives and soon it will be accepted as a norm....   [tags: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, God, Salem]

Powerful Essays
818 words (2.3 pages)

The Trials Of The Salem Witch Trials Essay

- The Salem Witch Trials began in 1692, and over the course of only one year, over 200 people were accused of witchcraft and 20 were executed. The trials created a panic among the people of Salem as religious leaders and afflicted girls furiously accused their fellow man of witchcraft. At the center of all this chaos stood Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Parris. The girls screamed out in pain, had horrendous fits, and cried that they were being possessed by the devil. Local religious leaders took immediate action against these so-called witches....   [tags: Salem witch trials, Samuel Parris, Schizophrenia]

Powerful Essays
1362 words (3.9 pages)

What Does Magic, Death And Early Modern Europe All Have? Essay example

- What does magic, death and early modern Europe all have in common. Witches. In pop culture today witches are seen as ugly, sometimes green women with pointed hats. In early modern Europe witches were seen very differently and deadly. Witchcraft trials were rampant throughout Europe from the 14th to the 16th century’s. Peak witch hunting mania hit mostly between 1580 to 1630. Some estimated 50,000 people persecuted as witches were hanged, burned and tortured to death. The reason has mystified historians and enthusiasts for years....   [tags: Witchcraft, Witch-hunt, Salem witch trials]

Powerful Essays
991 words (2.8 pages)

Essay about Origins, Consequences And Legacy Of The Salem Witch Trials

- From June 1692 to August 1692 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony more than 30 individuals (mostly young girls) cried out under spells and in pain and accused about 200 neighbors, relatives and friends of being “afflicted.” These 200 individuals (primarily rich, independent women) were suspected and charged with witchcraft, then punishable by death (Campbell, “The Salem Witch Trials”). Fifty-two were tried. Thirty were condemned. Twenty were executed, most by hanging; one man was crushed to death with stones....   [tags: Witchcraft, Salem witch trials, Witch-hunt, Salem]

Powerful Essays
838 words (2.4 pages)

The Making Of Salem, The Witch Trials Of History, Fiction, And Tourism Essay

- Derosa, Robin. “The Making Of Salem, The Witch Trials In History, Fiction, and Tourism” “Miller tries both to offer a disclaimer about the imaginative aspects of his work, and to claim a higher level of veracity for the play’s authority.” (133) “there is no evidence anywhere in any primary source documents that Proctor ever cheated on his wife with anyone.” (136) “But nowhere does he discuss that the affair has been fabricated.” —> discussing fictionality of Miller’s text Salem Possessed, The Social Origins of Witchcraft, Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum “commerce, not the ministry, was Parris’s first choice” ( 155) “the witchcraft accusations of 1692 moved in channels which were deter...   [tags: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, Witch-hunt]

Powerful Essays
875 words (2.5 pages)