"Salem Witch Trials"; Salem's Hysteria Revealed

1333 words - 6 pages

Salem's Hysteria RevealedDuring the winter of 1692, the small village of Salem, Massachusetts, was unaware of the coming events. Powered by paranoia and fear, a wave of witch hysteria swept through the quiet Salem village. Fueled by fanaticism, religious intolerance, and many other factors, the infamous Salem Witch Trials resulted.Salem Village, also known as the "farmers", was a relatively small farming community with a population just over 500. The Salem Village was smaller than the Salem Town, which was approximately eight miles away. Salem Town was mainly used as a large port, and was a very prosperous fishing community (Kallen 14).In Salem, the Puritan religion dominated. In order to worship God freely, the Puritans came to America. "They encouraged direct personal religious experience, strict moral conduct and simple worship services."(Kallen 17). However, the Puritans did not accept any other kind of religious practice and showed little pity towards others in the community. It was said that a person's misfortune was "ordered by god"(Linde 28). The Puritans held a strict code, which allowed sinners to be punished severely. The punishments that were set in were often meant to embarrass and cause pain upon the "sinners"(Kallen 18).In early years of America, the people were unaware of certain things. Sickness, for instance, was an important issue, for people back then didn't know how to manage and cure such complex illnesses. The Puritans didn't have much information about subjects such as these, so they often came to believe that unexplainable events were being performed by a powerful source of evil thus bringing about witchery. In the eyes of the Puritans, the believed that they must eliminate those who threatened their beliefs, including witches (Sutter). " To the Puritans, witches, demons, and evil spirits were as real as the rocky soil . . ."(Kallen 14). To this religious cult, the devil was just as real as the God they believed in; therefore, witchcraft was considered to be a sin in the society they lived in. They defined witchcraft as entering into a compact wit the devil in order to obtain certain powers to do evil. Thus, witchcraft was considered a sin because it denied God's superiority, and a crime because the witch could call upon the devil in his shape to perform cruel acts against others (Sutter).The Salem Village had appointed a new minister by the name of Samuel Parris, who had moved from Barbados with his wife, Elizabeth Parris, daughter Betty, niece Abigail, and slave Tituba. Tituba often took care of Parris's daughter Betty, who was nine years old, and his orphaned niece Abigail Williams, who was eleven years old (Kallen 29). She served as entertainment to the two girls in the long winter days when they were trapped indoors without anything to do. The slave Tituba showed the young girls of the Salem Village numerous tricks and spells comparable to voodoo. This was against the Puritan religion since Puritans believed that ...


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