Thursday, January 23, 2020

Salem Witch Trials Essay -- essays research papers

The Salem witch trials began with the accusation of people in Salem of being witches. But the concept of witchcraft started far before these trials and false accusations occurred. In the early Christian centuries, the church was relatively tolerant of magical practices. Those who were proved to have engaged in witchcraft were required only to do penance. But in the late Middle Ages (13th century to 14th century) opposition to alleged witchcraft hardened as a result of the growing belief that all magic and miracles that did not come unambiguously from God came from the Devil and were therefore manifestations of evil. Those who practiced simple sorcery, such as village wise women, were increasingly regarded as practitioners of diabolical witchcraft. They came to be viewed as individuals in league with Satan. Nearly all those who fell under suspicion of witchcraft were women, evidently regarded by witch-hunters as especially vulnerable to the Devil’s blandishments. A lurid picture of the activities of witches emerged in the popular mind, including covens, or gatherings over which Satan presided; pacts with the Devil; flying broomsticks; and animal accomplices, or familiars. Although a few of these elements may represent leftovers of pre-Christian religion, the old religion probably did not persist in any organized form beyond the 14th century. The popular image of witchcraft, perhaps inspired by features of occultism or ceremonial magic as well as by theology concerning the Devil and his works of darkness, was given shape by the inflamed imagination of inquisitors and was confirmed by statements obtained under torture. The late medieval and early modern picture of diabolical witchcraft can be attributed to several causes. First, the church’s experience with such dissident religious movements as the Albigenses and Cathari, who believed in a radical dualism of good and evil, led to the belief that certain people had allied themselves with Satan. As a result of confrontations with such heresy, the Inquisition was established by a series of papal decrees between 1227 and 1235. Pope Innocent IV authorized the use of torture in 1252, and Pope Alexander IV gave the Inquisition authority over all cases of sorcery involving heresy, although local courts carried out most actual prosecution of witches. At the same time, other developments created a climate in which alle... ...urse was accused as well, but found not guilty in the trial. Over 40 friends and neighbors testified in her favor, telling of her good faith and character. But the verdict from the jury caused such an outcry of fear, that the jury was asked to re-consider and she was then found guilty and hung. Mary Esty, Rebecca Nurses sister was also accused of being a witch, but she argued her case so well and in such a convincing manner, that the girls relented and she was found not guilty. She was released, a first in the witch-trials, but before long she was arrested once again on the claim that the girls had been haunted by her ghost. She was convicted and hung on September 22, 1692. Although all of the "witches" were hung, a certain man named Giles Cory was killed in a traditional English manner. He was pressed, pressing was where they would place heavy stones on a person till they died. Cory died two days later, crushed. 25 lives were taken during these Salem trials. 19 "w itches" were hung at Gallows hill. One was tortured to death by pressing. And five others died in prison, including an infant. The Salem witch trials were mainly caused by these two girls imagination.

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