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The Writings Of Shakespeare Essay

990 words - 4 pages

Witchcraft is viewed both as a religion and a way of life; it has evolved greatly throughout time and history in Europe, and has a large influence in the arts. Witchcraft dates back to as early as the ancient Celts and Druids, and was originally a nature based religion where people gave reverence to the elements for the animals and vegetables they ate (“Witchcraft Started”). The word “witch” translates to the Hebrew word “kashaph”, which comes from the root meaning “to whisper” (Linder). Witchcraft is a spiritual belief system and a way of life. Believers in Witchcraft generally work in covens, or an assembly of witches. Each coven develops its own system of worship, rituals, and practice in Witchcraft based on the experiences and beliefs of the members (“How Witchcraft”). In the sixth century B.C, it was written in the Bible that anyone who assumes the existence of witches is killed (Linder). This was stated in Exodus and Leviticus, and said to be written because it was intended to urge Jews to adhere to their own religious practices and not those of surrounding tribes. In the early 400’s, St. Augustine, an influential theologian in the early Christian Church, argued that Witchcraft was clearly impossible. He said that God, and God alone could suspend the normal laws of the universe, and that neither Satin nor the supernatural had the ability to effectively invoke magic of any sort (Linder). In 1273, a Dominican monk named Thomas Aquinas said that demons do exist and they lead people into temptation (Linger). And from then on, religious viewers argued the existence of a supernatural being, and Witches were killed for their beliefs. They were tortured and beaten if they admitted to practicing Witchcraft. This went on for years; but in 1606, Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, was performed. This play was performed during the execution of Witches in the era of King James, and Shakespeare wrote this play in which strange, bearded, hag-like witches play prominent roles (Linder). In 1682, a senile woman named Temperance Lloyd, became the last witch to be executed in England. Lord Chief Justice Sir Francis North was a passionate critic of witchcraft trails and he investigated the Lloyd case. The prosecution was denounced as deeply flawed. His criticism of the Lloyd case helped discourage anymore hunting’s or prosecutions of witches in Europe. This event led to the Enlightenment in Europe, in the 1680s (Linder). Witchcraft is just like any other religion, to the people who practice it. Those who did Witchcraft during the middle ages were willing to be killed for what they believed and it was very dangerous to be doing it then. But once the Enlightenment occurred in Europe, they were free to do what they wanted. Witchcraft has been viewed in many different ways throughout time, but one thing is for sure: Shakespeare used a lot of Witchcraft in...

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