Witchcraft And The Puritan Culture Essay

Witchcraft And The Puritan Culture Essay

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Tituba is rarely at the center of attention when the Salem Witch trials are in discussion. In fact, the only time she seems to ever be mentioned is to state that she is the link between witchcraft and the adolescent girls of Salem (Breslaw. Xx). Witchcraft is defined, by Webster’s dictionary, as the “magical things that are done by witches: the use of magical powers obtained especially from evil spirits”. Although words are known to change throughout the years, witchcraft, for the most part, has remained the same, but has various interpretations, specifically in Tituba’s Arawak culture, the culture Tituba was born into and the Puritan culture in which she was forced into. Their cultures have different interpretations on who exactly might be the “evil spirits”. This paper will discuss the historical Salem of 1692 and what it meant to be a witch as well as highlight the parallels of witchcraft between Tituba’s culture and the Puritan culture and connect them to the larger picture to demonstrate the significance of witchcraft, respectively.
In 1692, Salem Village was undergoing a widespread belief in the supernatural. The scandal began when three women, Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba, Reverend Samuel Parris’ Amerindian slave, were accused and questioned for being witches. Tituba would be the only of the three to confess to witchcraft. Her confession led to many consequences that will be discussed later in further detail. Tituba, from the archival research Elaine Breslaw, author of Reluctant Witch of Salem, concluded that Tituba was an Amerindian slave whose cultural influences could be tracked back to the Arawak tribe (xxii). Tituba plays a significant role in the history of the Salem Witch trials because had it not been fo...


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...uba, “equated with the European maleficium, the commission of an evil act”, meaning that she too saw witchcraft as evil but she had made a distinction between “protective and healing powers and evil intent”(109). As long as the magic being used was not used for evil she was not practicing witchcraft. In the Arawak tribe evil is defined differently from the Puritans. Evil was believed to be “inherent in individuals” and they had no belief in the intermediary i.e. the devil (125). In fact, the kenaima, “the most evil force” on their evil hierarchy existed in a real person and not in spirit. These are all significant in Tituba’s understanding of evil because she never truly saw her self as such. In her mind she could not be evil because she was had not used her magic for evil nor was she born out of evilness, at least not what is known from Breslaw’s archival research.

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