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Salem Witch Trials - Essay Example

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During the period of 17th century, people residing in the region of New England were fearful of the existence of devil (Findling 259). As a result of this fear, several innocent individuals including children and women were accused of indulging in the act of witchcraft and were hanged to death…
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Download file to see previous pages There were even those who were wrongfully accused but were able to save their lives as they accepted that they had indulged in the act. These incidences took place in the region of Salem and these incidences were recognized as Salem Witch Trials. On the front the main reason for executing individuals was witchcraft, but the main reasons that are rational in nature are quite different. The rational reasons for the incidences of Salem Witch Trials include: post traumatic stress and disease called ergotism. Body The main cause of Salem Witch Trials was that two girls named Betty Parris along with her cousin accused an Indian slave named Tituba for practicing witchcraft on them and due to her practices; they ended up acting in an abnormal manner. There are various theories that explain why the girls were acting in an abnormal manner. Linda R. Caporael in her article titled as “Ergotism: The Satan Loosed in Salem?” states that those girls who resided in the region of Salem were acting in abnormal manner because they were experiencing a disease recognized as ergotism (Caporael 1). These girls were experiencing ergotism because they had consumed bread that was affected by a fungus called ergot. The bread they consumed was made out of the rye grains on which the fungus had spread and these grains mostly grow during summers as well as warm springs. The symptoms of the disease called Ergotism are similar to the manner in which the girls who were thought to be under the control of the devil were experiencing. These symptoms includes: experience of something crawling inside the skin, headaches, experience of hallucinations and others. Since the behavior exhibited by the girls is similar to the symptoms experienced by those who experience ergotism, it is plausible that the girls were not under any spell and were experiencing ergotism. Another possible explanation of the events of the Salem Witch Trials has been provided by Mary Beth Norton in her article titled as “They called it Witchcraft” (Goss 63). She states that issues experienced by a human in their everyday life are quite commonly associated to witchcraft and similar practices. She further argues that these events are a response to the issue of post traumatic stress disorder experienced by the individuals as they were exposed to the war that took place between the American Indians and the Puritans. This is possibly a rational reason because those who were first held responsible for witchcraft mostly included Indian women including Tituba. Tituba and other American Indians were held responsible because Puritians did not like them due to the war and because the puritans were of the idea that these Indians were people who were chosen by God. The girls who accused Tituba as well as other Indian slaves might be holding a grudge against the Indian because they might be holding them for the death of their loved ones in the war. Another possible reason that can be attributed to the events of Salem Witch Trials is boredom (Roach xxiv). Those who are said to be under the spell were mostly young teenage females who had little or no entertainment and were always practicing religion and were not allowed to experience entertainment because of the rules of the Church. These teenagers might have thought that accusing Indian slaves of indulging in the act of Witchcraft might bring entertainment to their lives and they might become the center of attention of others. The outcome of these accusations was that several individuals were sent to prison and several of them were even executed for being a part of witchcraft. Conclusion Salem Witch Trials ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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