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Thought questions 3 - Coursework Example

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During this period, the belief of witches and devil worship were inseparable, and people believed that witches made pacts with the devil for their special powers. It, therefore,…
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Thought questions Part 1. What are some of the challenges of assessing the social causes of the witch-hunts?
Witch-hunt, as we have learnt, went to a craze especially during the Protestant reformation time. During this period, the belief of witches and devil worship were inseparable, and people believed that witches made pacts with the devil for their special powers. It, therefore, becomes a challenge to assess the social cause of witchcraft since individuals on all platforms, both the rich and the power were involved in witchcraft. There was no clear borderline as to the social class that involved in magic and, therefore, it is difficult to attribute a social factor to witchcraft.
2. Levack argues that the stereotype of the witch as being old, poor, and female is not necessarily accurate. Why not?
The idea of portraying a witch as an old, poor and female was the idea of the Christians to portray the witches as a bad example. They even went to the extreme of portraying them as wrinkled, rugged, and bed-ridden individuals. The idea was to make people dislike the witches as they were portrayed as evil people. In actual sense, witches were of varying ages, and there were young witches who were not poor. Both males and females engaged witchcraft so the portrayal of witches as always being old, poor, and female was inaccurate.
3. How does Levack explain the large-scale witch-hunts that FINALLY breakout in the late 16th century?
Massive outbreak in witch-hunt broke out during the 16th century. During this period, the Christians were undergoing a very important historic reformation known as the Protestant Reformation. Christians had previously hunted witches, but the Reformation seems to have contributed to the mind attribute that placed the devil in a manageable perspective. The reformation had somehow managed to create a link and a perception to relate witchcraft and the devil, which justified the execution of witches.
4. For the trial documents, consider the following questions:
1. What was the social class, gender, and age of the person(s) prosecuted?
Eighty percent of witch-hunt victims were women most of whom were single. They were also between ages 45 years and 65 years. Most of them were at the bottom in the social status, nearly 80 percent. Most of them were disliked, quarrelsome and poor.
2. What was the judicial process (i.e., questioning, torture, etc.)?
Initially, witches were tried using the accusatory justice where they were presumed guilty until proved otherwise. The Christians latter popularized another system, inquisitorial type of justice where the defendant was innocent until proved otherwise. This method required that the one convicted of witchcraft give a confession. This was latter altered, and torture was included to obtain a confession from the accused witches.
3. What kind of evidence was used to prosecute the defendant(s)?
Free and voluntary confession by the suspected person of the crime made, examination and subsequent accusations were a ground of conviction. Another criterion was the affirmation of two credible persons under oath that they had witnessed the accused doing things or speaking words, which only people with familiarity with the devil could.
4. What assumptions of guilt were applied during the trial?
The trials heavily inclined on the accused being guilty, but the accused must have confessed of being guilty before being truly termed as guilty. Profile evidence and spectral evidence were also used to find guilt in trials.
5. What crimes were the witches found guilty of and what was their sentence(s)?
Among accusations made against witches, were killing children, killing crops, making livestock and children ill and souring the beer. They renounced their loyalty to God and pledged allegiance to the devil and all his evil works including murder.
The capital punishment for anyone involved in witchcraft was murder, by either hanging or burning with burning being prominent.
Part 2
Thought 2
1 For the trial documents, consider the following questions:
1. What were the social class, gender, and age of the person(s) prosecuted?
A great number of witches did arose after 1560’s in Germany. The great masses who were involved in the process of witchcraft conduction were mainly the poor, middle aged and old women. Additionally, the midwives and traditional healers were great suspects. They were thought to have intensive knowledge emanating from the devil. Women were a major threat and suspects,
2. What was the judicial process (ie questioning, torture, etc.)?
Those who were great suspects of witches underwent trials that were frightening. When one person had a label as a witch, people could do anything to her without fearing. She was like a person without any rights and freedom. The community could deal with the accused even before the client was taken for the judgment in the legal process. Torture could last for days, until they reached a final confession of having participated in witchcraft if the victims were stubborn and failed to confess, they would be tortured to death. Sometimes women could be stripped naked, shaved of their hair, and pricked their bodies. Witch marks were searched on their bodies. Persecution was so common, among the witches (Levack, pg. 78).
3. What kind of evidence was used to prosecute the defendant(s)?
Essentially, the Salem trials were the main methods utilized in conducting the prosecution process among the German and France witches suspects. The person afflicted presents a complaint to magistrate regarding the suspected witch. The magistrate will then take an action, issuing a warrant of arrest to the accused. The magistrate then takes an action after listening to the testimony. Spectral evidence and vulgar probation were also useful methods.
4. What assumptions of guilt were applied during the trial?
The trials heavily inclined on the accused being guilty, but the accused must have confessed of being guilty before being truly termed as guilty. Profile evidence and spectral evidence were also used to find guilt in trials.
5. What crimes were the defendant(s) found guilty of and what was their sentence(s)?
Among accusations made against witches, were killing children, killing crops, making livestock and children ill and souring the beer. They renounced their loyalty to God and pledged allegiance to the devil and all his evil works including murder. The capital punishment for anyone involved in witchcraft was murder, by either hanging or burning with burning being prominent. Sometimes they were put in hot ovens and baked to death.
2 To what extent did beliefs in demonology, the nature of the Inquisition, and notions of crime play a role in creating a geographically and chronologically diverse history of witch-hunts?
Beliefs in demonology led to an eruption of a society that could segregate and separate group that withdrew self from the society. Such group was identifiable through possession of certain features making them distinct from the rest of the population. They did receive immense stigma and face-to-face persecution.
3 What general claims about witch-hunting do you think are appropriate to make?
Women were the core victims of witch-hunting. They included the poor, widows, and socially withdrawn. Such witches were given those characteristics to portray the witches as a bad example. They even went to the extreme of portraying them as wrinkled, rugged, and bed-ridden individuals. The idea was to make people dislike the witches as they were portrayed as evil people. In actual sense, witches were of varying ages, and there were young witches who were not poor. Both males and females engaged witchcraft so the portrayal of witches as always being old, poor, and female was inaccurate (Kors, Alan and Edward, pg 125).
Work cited
Kors, Alan C, and Edward Peters. Witchcraft in Europe, 1100-1700: A Documentary History. Edited by Alan C. Kors and Edward Peters. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1972. Print.
Levack, Brian P. The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe. , 2006: 47-109 Read More
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