Free Paper Sample on a Feminist Overview of the Salem Witch Trials

Published: 2022-10-19
Free Paper Sample on a Feminist Overview of the Salem Witch Trials
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Women Feminism Salem witch trials
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 1928 words
17 min read

In society, females are known with different perspectives. The history of women as witches is a perspective that puts women in society into a dilemma regarding how the issues came about. The paper, therefore, explores how women in the society have been deemed witches regarding the history of such accusations in Salem. In 1962 Salem had women being accused of witches. The women that were accused in Salem left a mark that turned to be the mainstream witch stereotype that is currently seen in media also in pop culture. The witch image is used to support gender inequality in society. The events that led to Salem trials would be elucidated. While also reflecting at the Salem village, I will justify as to why women face suppression. At the court, it appears that women are rarely unheard and the judgments are based on the belief that women are associated with bad omens in the society.

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The Salem witch trials are traced back to 1692 where the two daughters of Pastor Parries started to show awful signs of bizarre behavior. The two daughters Betty Parris who was nine years old and Abigail Williams who was 11 years would be seen crying randomly, screaming and crawling around. They were also contorting themselves and appeared destroying property (Aloi, Peg, 24). Their father Parries was so concerned with the sudden notorious behaviors that his daughters developed. He had to seek and understand the cause of such behaviors. He searched for a local doctor to examine his daughters. The doctor arrived, and after a thorough examination, there was nothing medically that was found wrong with the young girls. Parries wandered with such behaviors developed by the daughters, and after consultation with a pastor from a nearby town, he received a suggestion that the behaviors developed by her daughters were beyond natural and concluded that it could be as a result of machination of Satan.

Salem happened to be a small village that was situated in what is presently Massachusetts. After the revolution in England, most of the Christians fled to Europe. They then headed to American colonies to save themselves from religious persecution. Many Christians ended up settling in the modern New England where they formed most of the self- governing towns and villages that got based entirely on their bible interpretation. The children were made to learn the bible. They were put under the control of pastors and other religious leaders where they received knowledge.

The rules concerning the social comportment were complicated and extensive. Despite that the deviations ware slight, they were taken with great suspicion. This made Salem Loathsome town having many disputes that could not be justified. The inhabitants of Salem were worried about the witches that ware undermining their villages. Satan was taking the position which made many of the villagers uncomfortable and was worried about the statuses while dwelling in the same land with the witchcraft. The question that was left behind to villages by such arising crisis was whether the same could be transferred d to the future generation (Clark, Stuart, 5).

At that juncture of history of America, Satan was believed all over to have a constant and great presence on earth. The witches, therefore, were believed being the Satan agents who had a mission of accomplishing the agenda of Satan in the world mainly attack to young girls. A powerful religious leader Cotton Mather disseminated a large pamphlets number that led to trials that exhorted the palpable and real evil of witchcraft. Also, he gave in detail the effects that were brought about by witchcraft and the most likely individuals who could engage in it.

After the acknowledgment was made public concerning the notorious behaviors of pastor's daughter's, a meeting was held. Many young women got emulated with the behaviors of young daughters, and they attended aiming to understand the evil that is cascading the society (Foner, Eric, 13). During the meeting, it was noted that many young girls could interrupt the proceedings many times. They were targeting to understand the issues behind the evil in society. They were heard screaming at the meeting.

At the start, three women got arrested who included a black slave, a homeless beggar and a prominent, poor and unpopular woman who was known to be the member of the rival family. When adults pressed Williams and Parris, they named the three women Osborne, Good and Tituba as the only responsible individuals for their afflictions. The three women broke the codes of Puritan life and therefore no one even mind to defend them. The three got subjected to tight interrogation while at the court for almost a week. The black women confessed that she had signed a contract with Satan and had become the agent. The confession made by the black slave surprised the village throughout spring and summer.

By the time of suspect arrest, all three women stayed on margins of society in Salem. For the case of Good, she was left in big debt after her first husband died. She stayed with her second husband in a poor life. They were homeless and lacked food to eat. Osborne was at the age of 50s during the time of the accusation, and therefore she was an elderly woman. Rumour came that she had premarital sex with a man who finally became her second husband (McKay, Ami, 23). For Tituba, she was a slave taken from South America or Barbados to Massachusetts, and she was believed by most of the villages in Salem that she knew a little of witchcraft.

All the three women were unvalued citizens, and it could not likely be believed upon denying their accusers. It is indicated that the questioning that the three women received were all design to intimidate. In fact, the men who lead an examination of the matter were seeking to prove the suspects guilty of the witch, and the girls who accused them were made sat on the courtroom. They identified the three women as witches when they were asked. They were crying out loudly and contorting emphasizing on allege to the suspects.

Sarah Good suffered. Most of the people who accused her were her neighbors. The neighbors appeared to have been silent for long but deep in their hearts; they identified Sarah as a witch. The mothers in the village purported that Sarah tormented their little children through squeezing or pinching them. Some also purported that Sarah choked, cursed them and bent their limbs. Most of the villagers in Salem were heard complaining and saying they the victims of the Good witchcraft (Savage, Michael, 24).

During questioning, Good kept insisting on her sincere innocence and even pointed at her fellow suspect Osborne to deflect the blame. For Osborne, she failed to convince the court about her innocence. She did not think to make accusations to anyone else. For the case of Tituba who would confess to any forms of witchcraft including signing the book of the Devil and flight, initially claimed to purport that Osborne and Good were entirely responsible for the afflictions of young girls.

From the Salem Witchcraft crisis (1992), Mary Beth Norton claims that the subsequent trials had a similarly antagonistic slant. This shows how rare the magistrate and the community at large care about hearing the testimonies of women. It is fair to conclude that mass hysteria that was inspired by Puritanical fear of the unknown and a recent outbreak of smallpox was partly to become blame for trials and witch hunts. Nevertheless, the accused became accused of being entirely guilty from the beginning.

While in prison, Osborne died in May 1692. In the first mass of the execution trials, Good became among the individuals who were hanged. After full confession, Tituba got imprisoned which went until April 1693. Tituba was among the last witches to be released.

The two girls including a girl by the name Ann Putnam Jr. started to level the accusation of witchcraft against 50 individuals. They were all arrested and put into interrogation throughout the summer. The people who challenged the proceedings also got arrested, and any dissent was viewed with intense prejudice from the process.

To provide proves for the accusation, spectral evidence was seen as a contentious issue. The spectral evidence refers to the testimony that is given by the accuser in that the accused appeared to them in the form of spirit or Specter. The hypothesis was that Satan himself granted power. The significant debate was held over the admissibility and legitimacy of the pronounced evidence. Mather Cotton remitted a dissertation to court in Salem purporting that special evidence could be admissible and cautioned that it was insufficient for conviction (Snodgrass, Mary Ellen, 15).

The court disregarded cotton's contention and started to issues convictions basing entirely on spectral evidence. The accusation proceeded to pile up and finally hangings happen on a Gallows Hill. The first individual to be hanged to serve as punishment became Bridget Bishop. This resulted in the resignation of presiding judge as he grew disagreed with the proceedings. Rumors came that he became alcoholic after his participation in trials.

During the course of summer within the same year, it was reported that 19 individuals were hanged and most of them were women. In September of the same year, it was reported that a man of had refused to enter a plea was crushed death. At such point, the father of Cotton Mather named Increase Mather to become a strong opponent of the proceeding and failed to acknowledge the legitimacy of spectral evidence. He stood with the famous quote that 'it was even better for the ten suspected witches to escape that condemnation of an innocent person.'

The governor of Massachusetts colony used his power to issue a stay on any more execution and prosecution after his wife was challenged about witchcraft and formed his court to attempt the remaining accusation in the court. All but three individuals became released and were not tried by the court since indictments got based only on spectral evidence.

In the aftermath, much consternation occurred over the trials as the convictions became overturned by the end. Most of the leaders started to challenge the proceedings and their fellow supporters. To present, all conviction have become overturned, all the deceased members allowed back to the church and while the innocent are recognized formally. Abigail Williams who was the notorious accuser publicly apologize about a decade later for her behavior.

The underlying psychology which results to the zealous witch in Salem never disappeared in America but rather went hiding. As observed, it has erupted timely as moral panics, but the culture of America of narcissism has widely displaced it. Moral puritanism still exists in feminist being the key demographic. Clinically, the moral puritanism is referred to Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. The personality disorder results in predictable behavior. It is characterized by their perfectionism, love of work and their moral constriction and profound emotional (Sollee, Kristen J, and Coz Conover, 16). They do not only regard themselves as moral superiors only, but they also seek to change the world to unhealthy thought patterns.

Inside each obsessive compulsive that can be termed as the puritan moving forward, there is anti-social to push its way to the surface. It is unable to bring together their good thoughts with their bad ones. They participate in emotional constriction which causes them to be obsessed with the control. Within their minds, they participate in incredible amounts of thinking overwork or the moral judging of others to avoid dealing with their antisocial behavior. They would wish to repel and surrender into adolescent antisocial interest.

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