The Salem Witch Trials

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Salem Witch Trials People will stop at nothing to get what they want. The Salem Witch Trials were no exception. Jealously and greed of a neighbor’s land, and even intolerance of one’s different beliefs motivated these trials. In Juliet Blackwell’s essay, “A Witchcraft Mystery Series: Salem Witch Trials”, she goes as far to say, “It just may be that land, deeds and inheritance motivated the witch hunting more than a desire to expel the devil.” The trials began in 1692 when Betty Parris, the daughter of Samuel Parris- “a minister who was neither well-liked nor desired (Hill)” – and Abigail Williams began to have extremely strange behavior: fits, convulsions, and blasphemies. The town doctor pronounce the girls bewitched after examination, which sent the town into frenzy. Residents even began to accuse their neighbors of being witches to acquire their land. The first three accused women were “women with few defenders.”: Sarah Goode, a poor woman known to beg for food; Sarah Osborne, a woman known for having an affair with her indentured servant and not going to church services; and Tituba, Parris’s slave. Once the frenzy started, it did not take long for greed and jealousy to come into play. The greed of one man in particular was what fostered the trials most. “Many people who opposed Samuel Parris were arrested as witches (Boyer, 61)”. For Parris, the trials seemed like a way to get rid of his enemies. For example, Rebecca Nurse – one of the first to be accused – had been in an ongoing fight for land with the Puritans (i.e. Parris). If Nurse would have been convicted, she would have lost her possessions, and Parris would have gotten the land. The essay “Tragedy of the Salem Witchcraft Trials” states it best: “ The greed of Parris and his church cost many people their dignity, possessions, and lives.” The Salem Witch Trials also illustrated the Puritan’s

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