Witchcraft In The Premodern World - Humanities - Essay

1403 words - 6 pages

Oleatta​ ​O’Dell
Professor​ ​Horten
Where​ ​The​ ​Blame​ ​Falls
The​ ​premodern​ ​world​ ​was​ ​one​ ​in​ ​which​ ​an​ ​early​ ​death​ ​was​ ​a​ ​common​ ​occurrence​ ​and
natural​ ​disaster​ ​could​ ​tear​ ​entire​ ​societies​ ​apart,​ ​leaving​ ​nothing​ ​in​ ​its​ ​wrath.​ ​In​ ​a​ ​world​ ​ridden
with​ ​sickness​ ​and​ ​disease,​ ​who​ ​is​ ​left​ ​to​ ​blame?​ ​For​ ​those​ ​living​ ​in​ ​the​ ​medieval​ ​age​ ​God​ ​was​ ​at
the​ ​forefront​ ​of​ ​society,​ ​an​ ​almighty​ ​power​ ​who​ ​could​ ​do​ ​no​ ​wrong.​ ​This​ ​left​ ​the​ ​blame​ ​to​ ​fall
upon​ ​the​ ​devil,witchcraft​ ​and​ ​unfortunately,​ ​others​ ​in​ ​the​ ​society.​ ​Blaming​ ​things​ ​such​ ​as​ ​the
plague,​ ​on​ ​witchcraft​ ​was​ ​a​ ​reoccurring​ ​trend​ ​during​ ​medieval​ ​times.​ ​The​ ​people​ ​of​ ​this​ ​time​ ​so
heavily​ ​believed​ ​in​ ​witchcraft​ ​and​ ​used​ ​it​ ​to​ ​justify​ ​why​ ​terrible​ ​things​ ​happened​ ​because,​ ​people
didn’t​ ​believe​ ​God​ ​could​ ​bring​ ​them​ ​such​ ​misfortune.​ ​Along​ ​with​ ​religious​ ​reasons,​ ​witchcraft
was​ ​likely​ ​so​ ​widely​ ​believed​ ​because​ ​medical​ ​practices​ ​at​ ​the​ ​time​ ​simply​ ​were​ ​not​ ​developed
enough​ ​to​ ​understand​ ​illness​ ​and​ ​what​ ​caused​ ​it.​ ​Lastly,​ ​the​ ​medieval​ ​era​ ​was​ ​a​ ​time​ ​in​ ​in​ ​which
sexism​ ​and​ ​classism​ ​were​ ​extremely​ ​prevalent​ ​and​ ​played​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​role​ ​in​ ​determining​ ​​ ​who​ ​was
accused​ ​of​ ​witchcraft.​ ​All​ ​of​ ​these​ ​factors​ ​offer​ ​an​ ​insight​ ​as​ ​to​ ​why​ ​the​ ​people​ ​of​ ​the​ ​premodern
world​ ​used​ ​witchcraft​ ​to​ ​justify​ ​tragedy​ ​and​ ​disaster.
Religion​ ​during​ ​the​ ​pre​ ​modern​ ​time​ ​period​ ​was​ ​vastly​ ​different​ ​from​ ​religion​ ​and
religious​ ​practices​ ​today.​ ​During​ ​medieval​ ​times​ ​the​ ​church​ ​had​ ​more​ ​power​ ​than​ ​any​ ​kingdom
and​ ​the​ ​people​ ​trusted​ ​the​ ​pope​ ​more​ ​than​ ​any​ ​king.​ ​Religious​ ​views​ ​and​ ​beliefs​ ​triggered​ ​the
belief​ ​in​ ​witchcraft​ ​because​ ​people​ ​didn’t​ ​want​ ​to,​ ​or​ ​couldn’t​ ​believe​ ​that​ ​God​ ​would​ ​punish
them​ ​by​ ​bringing​ ​forth​ ​things​ ​such​ ​as​ ​the​ ​plague.​ ​This​ ​unwillingness​ ​to​ ​blame​ ​God​ ​and​ ​the
inability​ ​to​ ​blame​ ​nature​ ​can​ ​clearly​ ​be​ ​seen​ ​in​ ​Geraldine​ ​Brooks​ ​novel​ ​“​Year​ ​Of​ ​Wonders”,
when​ ​the​ ​villiage​ ​people​ ​accuse​ ​characters​ ​Men​ ​and​ ​Anys​ ​of​ ​witchcraft.​ ​The​ ​people​ ​of​ ​the
village​ ​let​ ​their​ ​fears​ ​get​ ​the​ ​best​ ​of​ ​them.​ ​Rather​ ​than​ ​waiting​ ​on​ ​God​ ​to​ ​ease​ ​their​ ​suffering​ ​or
blaming​ ​God​ ​for​ ​their​ ​suffering,​ ​they​ ​attribute​ ​their​ ​pain​ ​to​ ​people​ ​and​ ​powers​ ​immediately
around​ ​them.​ ​The​ ​first​ ​of​ ​these​ ​unfortunate​ ​casualties​ ​was​ ​Mem​ ​Gowdie.​ ​While​ ​Men​ ​had​ ​never
done​ ​anything​ ​to​ ​the​ ​villagers​ ​other​ ​than​ ​help​ ​them,​ ​by​ ​delivering​ ​their​ ​babies​ ​and​ ​creating​ ​tonics

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