Ap European History Witch Dbq Essay

918 words - 4 pages

Witch DBQ - Kylee ColwellAs the feared outcast of the community, accused witches faced unwarranted, misogynistic accusations, executions, and betrayal throughout Europe from 1480 to 1700. Witchcraft is defined as the ability to perform supernatural talents without the assistance of others. Anything deemed unordinary, or un-Christian like, could have someone blamed of the worst crime at the time, which was going against God. The rapid, unjust accusations came from the prejudiced community members, who were supported by the church. As a result of accusing one of witchcraft, one could gain the wealth of the accused, revenge, or their own innocence. Fear ran rampant in this time period, as not much was known and lives were evolving too drastically to keep up with, producing a substantial amount of disorder.During this time, Europe encountered numerous hardships such as the plague, religious reformations, and ever-changing domestic boundaries. With barely any scientific awareness of the origins of tragic events, the people of Europe often blamed supernatural beings such as the devil or witches. The impression of paranormal occurrences and people came from the strict bound religion and the church had over the people, as every aspect of existence was religion controlled. Religion enforced stringent rules on the roles of women as the maid of the household, one who obeys their husband and the men around her. Even monks would support misogyny, publishing their works, such as The Hammer of Witches, composed by Kramer and Sprenger, which states that women are "from the fragile sex" and because of this their bodies were "more open to the voice of Satan". (Doc. 6) Misogyny was also exhibited in the statistics, as women were far more sought after for witchcraft than men. The Court Records of Freiburg in Breslau, Germany stated that 82% of witches executed in Southwestern Germany from 1562 to 1684 were women; while a mere 18% were men, verifies this. (Doc. 11) The majority of those slayed were single, well over the marrying age. A few of those were once married, but widowed and still faced accusations as they could not marry again. An example of this scenario was with Walpurga Hausmannin, as described by Seka Kisha, as being a widow who ate children and infected people with the Black Death. (Doc. 7) They were also described as lonely and ugly, yet ironically promiscuous when it came to lying with men. Their promiscuous behavior gave others enough reason to accuse them of serving the devil, the cruelest crime at the time. (Doc. 9) Some believed, like Johan Weir, that women had smaller brains that allowed the devil to easily control them. (Doc. 2)Once inculpated of witchcraft, most suspects would admit to the crimes in order to elude execution....

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