This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Comparing Salem Possessed By Paul Boyer, The Story Of The Salem Witch Trials By Bryan Le Beau, And Devil In The Shape Of A Woman By Carol Karlsen

1878 words - 8 pages

Comparing "Salem Possessed" by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, "The Story of the Salem Witch Trials" by Bryan Le Beau, and "The Devil in the Shape of a Woman" by Carol Karlsen

The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 spread just about as fast as the Black Plague. This epidemic caused chaos among neighbors in a community. The chronology of events describes an awful time for colonists from June 10th to September 22nd of that year. The books "Salem Possessed" by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, "The Story of the Salem Witch Trials" by Bryan Le Beau, and "The Devil in the Shape of a Woman" by Carol Karlsen all describe these events and provide varying explanations for the epidemic that plagued Salem Village. This review will look at the facts that surrounded the trials and then using those facts will look at the cause stated in each book for the hysteria to compare and contrast with one another.

The trials themselves began following an instance involving Betty Parris, Abigail Williams, and Ann Putnam, 3 young girls in the village. (Dufour, 248) The girls were caught performing fortune-telling rituals in the woods outside the village. The claimed at the time that they were trying to find information on the type of man that would be most suitable for them to marry. Soon after this event the girls began to experience hysterical type fits. These fits prompted Reverend Samuel Parris, the father of Betty Parris, to call on authorities to find an explanation for the fits. The explanation they found was very simple: witchcraft.

As the months went on more girls began to experience the same sort of events. It was only after intense questioning that the girls revealed the names of those afflicting them: Sarah Osborne, Sarah Good, and Rev. Parris' servant Tituba. (Dufour, 249) It was this revelation that sparked the fire of witch hunting that would eventually get radically out of control as the year continued.

Common sense should tell any human that such an isolated event was not capable of causing such hysteria among villagers. For hundreds of years scholars, among them the previously mentioned authors, have researched the various factors that influenced the witch hunting to spread. The first factor that helps put the whole story in motion is the arrival of the arrival of Reverend Samuel Parris as the new minister for the church in Salem Village.

On November 19, 1689 the Reverend Parris, with his family at his side, was ordained the new minister for the Salem Village Church. (Boyer & Nissenbaum, 153) Reverend Parris came to Salem at a very tumultuous time. The church had just gained its independence from the church in Salem Town, thus causing many rifts among residents of both the village and the town.

From the start, Parris was a poor leader for the town. He was continually concerned more with increasing his salary and living allowances than he was with the happenings of the village. Parris himself also became a centerpiece...

Find Another Essay On Comparing Salem Possessed by Paul Boyer, The Story of the Salem Witch Trials by Bryan Le Beau, and Devil in the Shape of a Woman by Carol Karlsen

The Witch Trials of Salem Essay

823 words - 3 pages The Witch Trials of Salem Though only a seven-month “trend,” the Salem Witch Trials (SWTs) led to the executions and imprisonments of several innocent people. The SWTs were the examinations, trials, and executions of alleged “witches” beginning in late February 1692 and ending in late October 1692. The SWTs began in Salem Village, Massachusetts (currently Danvers, Massachusetts). The SWTs began with the “circle girls”: Betty Parris, Abigail

The Crucible and The Salem Witch Trials by Arthur Miller

1074 words - 5 pages , Americans faced poverty, and had no income because jobs weren’t available. Throughout his life Miller influenced many people with his plays, and his contributions to this day because people want to read and understand what was truly happening in past history. For example, “The Crucible” is a play about the Salem Witch Trials, giving a good understanding of the basics that went on in this time period. Another example of Miller’s influential work is “The

A Summary of the Salem Witch Trials

1269 words - 6 pages be incalculable…It had been a wise and human provision designed to keep the faithful in control even when, as had long ago become the case, they were heavily outnumbered by lesser men without the Covenant (Marion, 1969). Bibliography Blumberg, J. (2007, October 24). A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials. Smithsonian Retrieved from

Comparing The Crucible and Salem Witch Trials

1781 words - 7 pages The purpose of my paper is to compare and contrast Arthur Miller’s The Crucible with the actual witch trials that took place in Salem in the 17th Century. Although many of the characters and events in the play were non-fictional, many details were changed by the playwright to add intrigue to the story. While there isn’t one specific cause or event that led to the Salem witch trials, it was a combination of events and factors that contributed

The Truth of Reverend Hale during The Salem Witch Trials in "the Crucible,” by Arthur Miller

592 words - 2 pages The Salem witch trials were a time period in which there was mass chaos and very little reason. In, “The Crucible,” by Arthur Miller, there were an elect group of people that overcame this hysteria of the trials. Among the people of reason arose, Reverend Hale, who displayed both sides of the hysteria. Reverend Hale is a dynamic character as he transforms from a character following the strict law and causing the deaths of many, to a character

The Salem Witch trials

2769 words - 11 pages shape of a Woman New York: Random House, Inc., 19872)David D. Hall, Witch-Hunting in Seventeenth-century New England Boston: North-eastern University Press, 19913)Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 19734)Reverend Z. A. Mudge, Witch Hill: A History of Salem Witchcraft New York: Carlton and Lanahan, 18705)Marion L. Starkey, The Devil in Massachusetts Garden City

The Salem Witch Trials

1693 words - 7 pages by name. “Twenty people had been executed for witchcraft, while over 100 more lay in prison, their property confiscated, and the name of Salem had become a synonym for mindless and cruel persecution.” Whenever the unexpected or unexplainable happened, it was blamed on witchcraft. There was no one particular cause for The Salem Witch Trials. “A combination of events and factors such as the economic, political, imaginations and fears of the

The Salem Witch Trials

981 words - 4 pages Mark of the Devil was often enough just a strange birthmark. A ritual way of testing this mark was to prod it with a pin; if there was no pain or no blood, then it was a Witches Mark. Some see the Witch Trials as originating from an event occurring in 1688. A young woman by the name of Martha Goodwin began to exhibit strange behavior and soon after her siblings demonstrate the same odd behavior. Martha Goodwin had argued with the laundress Goody

The Salem Witch Trials

2247 words - 9 pages witch trials to begin with. In this society witchcraft was one of the absolute worst crimes a person could commit; in most cases it was punishable by death, this was the only way to save the soul of the accused from the devil. During the Salem witch trials there were over two hundred people accused of witchcraft. Nineteen of those people were put on trial, found guilty and were hung. One person was pressed to death and four more people died in

The Salem Witch Trials

1961 words - 8 pages In 1692 everyone was sure that the Devil had come to Salem when young girls started screaming, barking like dogs and doing strange dances in the woods. The Salem Witch Trials originated in the home of Salem's reverend Samuel Parris, who had a slave from the Caribbean named Tibuta. Tibuta would tell stories about witchcraft back from her home. In early 1692 several of Salem's teenage girls began gathering in the kitchen with Tibuta. When

The Salem Witch Trials - 1044 words

1044 words - 5 pages were accused of practicing witchcraft; prisons filled with wrongly accused people, and concerned the people of the community of Salem, Massachusetts. In the year of 1692 a group of several young girls, some being, Bridget Bishop, Alice Parker, Mary Easty, Betty Parris and Sarah Hubbard, were arrested, who were claimed by other colonist to be possessed by the devil. Later in February of 1692 arrest warrants were made to three women; all of them

Similar Essays

Genderising The Salem Witchhunt (Feminist Piece) Paul Boyer And Stephen Nissenbaum's Salem Possessed And The Devil In The Shape Of A Woman By Carol Karlsen

1039 words - 4 pages This paper will discuss and contrast the works of both Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum's Salem Possessed and The Devil in the Shape of a Woman by Carol Karlsen. These papers contrast in their reasoning behind the Salem trials and the subsequent timing of it in 1692. It must be clear that whilst Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum's discuss a whole series of mitigating factors that leads to the trials in Salem the authors do not pay homage to the

The Devil In The Shape Of A Woman By Carol Karlsen

857 words - 3 pages The Devil in the Shape of a Woman by Carol Karlsen Carol Karlsen was born in 1940. She is currently a professor in the history department a the University of Michigan. A graduate of Yale University (Ph.D, 1980), she has taught history and women’s study courses at Union College and Bard College. In this book Carol Karlsen reveals the social construction of witchcraft in 17th century New England, and brings forth the portrait of gender in

"The Crucible" By Miller, And Salem Witch Trials Of 1692

2167 words - 9 pages midst of the congregation.' Parrisadmonishes the congregation by saying that ' there is either obedience or the church willburn like hell is burning.' Life and death hang in the balance as the witch trials begin inearly 1692. A particularly hard line Judge Danforth explains to those in the courtroom,' aperson is either with the court or he must be counted against it, there is no room inbetween.' John Proctor, a member of the community that has

Account Of The Salem Witch Trials By: Tan Ly

3544 words - 14 pages Devil. His rhetoric further separated the two factions within Salem Village.It is likely that the jealousies and hostilities between these two factions played a major role in the witch trials. Most of the villagers accused of witchcraft lived near Ipswich Road, whereas the accusers lived in the distant farms of Salem Village. It is not surprising that Reverend Parris was a vigorous supporter of the witch trials, and his impassioned sermons helped