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Salem Witch Hunts Essay

3481 words - 14 pages

Exploring, the historical references of the Salem Witch Hunts will reveal insights into the cultural makeup of this colonial society during the seventeenth century. Questions that present themselves are, were there a sense of mass hysteria or were there some other sociological phenomena that explained the social construct during that disturbing time frame.
In the winter of 1691-1692 Salem Village was not a happy-go-lucky place to live; the cold, damp, and dreary town of 600 was divided and afraid. The farmers who were from the western side of town were more focused on agricultural lifestyle while, the businessmen on the eastern side wanted to be closer to the commercial district and commerce. The problems between Salem Town and Salem Village settlements were based on social and economic policies. Thus you had people who wanted to separate from Salem Town, and those who decided to stay in the village.
Puritans believed witches could do harm to others and defined witchcraft as entering into a compact with the devil in exchange for certain powers to do evil. Witchcraft was considered a sin and a crime because it denied the sovereignty of God. A witch could call up the Devil in order to perform cruel acts against others. Reverend Samuel Parris’s daughter Betty Parris, his niece Abigail Williams, and Anne Putnam Jr. were the first three to experience this as yet to be identified malady. Some people believed that their sickness and convulsion were caused by a witch. These phenomena were the portents of terrible times to come; we know them as the Salem Witch Hunts.
The Salem Witch Hunts have been the subject of assorted types of academic analysis in search of an accurate diagnosis of what actually took place during that time. The Salem Witch Trials was brought on because of fear and its effect on the human psyche and behavior. These events of the early seventeen hundreds have played both a historical role and an influencer of future cultural experiences.
What were the Salem witch trial and how did they come to be seems the appropriate place to start a discussion on the intricacies of the event that led to the trials. An inventory of characters germane to the Salem Witch Trials which should shed light on those preceding includes a fire and brim stone preacher name Samuel Parris. In 1691, the new preacher had been the subjected to a disgruntled congregation after only two years of service.
When the witch trials started Samuel Parris, the preacher, announced that it was GOD sending forth destroyers because He was angry. In an effort to combat these strange happenings Samuel Parris organized fasts and prayers for those that had succumbed to a witches spell. After prayers and fasting had done nothing to exorcise the epidemic of “fits”, Parris seemed to embrace the use of witchcraft out of an abundance of caution and concern for his family. Even though Parris was a preacher and accuser of witches, he too was unable to escape the...

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