Nine-year old Elizabeth Parris and eleven years old Abigail Williams started having fits, strange behaviors and would scream with anger. A doctor looked at the girls and decided that the only explanation was spells caused by witchcraft. Despite the fact today we know it wasn’t logically true, but the town had a strong belief of the devil. Hysteria and chaos took over the town, soon enough when girls all over town decided to take part in it, and began accusing the townspeople without a reason. This is one reason why this is the worst thing that happened to America.
Historically witchcraft has been thought of as violent horrible things. They tortured and killed many innocent people, although the exact opposite is what happened at the Salem Witchcraft Trials. Nineteen women and five men were hung on Salem’s gallows hill. They were all accused witches, who were all also innocent. How did the witch-hunt in 1692 begin, and why there?
The Salem Witch Trials From June through September of 1692, nineteen people convicted of practicing witchcraft were hung on Gallows Hill. One elderly man was pressed to death when he refused to attend his own trial. Rumors that certain people were witches spread like wildfire and hundreds were accused, many wasting away in jail for months, waiting nervously for their trial. This is the story of the infamous Salem Witch Trials of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Salem Witch Trials took place only in America, but the idea of witches has existed in many parts of the world.
Hysteria in Salem In 1692, in Salem Massachusetts, the superstition of witches existed in a society of strong Christian beliefs. Anybody who acted out of the ordinary was accused of being a witch and the accused would actually be forgiven if they blamed their accusations on another individual. In this play, a group of young girls is accused of being witches. These girls then blame other people in order to get out of trouble and even pretend to be "bewitched" in front of the court during a trial. This leads into the deaths of the innocent people who are accused and automatically found guilty.
Background: The Salem witchcraft trials of 1692 have been studied by many historians looking for the complex social, political, and psychological determinants behind the community wide hysteria that led to the death of 20 innocent Puritans. Ergot poisoning has been put forth by some as a previously unsuspected cause of the bizarre behaviors of the young adolescent girls who accused the townsfolk of witchcraft. During the early winter of 1692 two young girls became inexplicably ill and started having fits of convulsion, screaming, and hallucinations. Unable to find any medical reason for their condition the village doctor declared that there must be supernatural forces of witchcraft at work. This began an outbreak of hysteria that would result in the arrest of over one hundred-fifty people and execution of twenty women and men.
Throughout the years, witchcraft has been the common fear of mankind. In England, the legal definition of a witch was “a person who hath a conference with the devil to consult with him or to do some act”. In early modern Europe, women were thought to be witches due to their biblical association with the devil, the superstitions and misunderstanding of the people of Europe, and the negative perceptions of those who deviated from the social norm. As a result, these beliefs and superstitions led to the death of thousands of alleged witches. (Witch Hunts) Witches were thought to be consults of the devil who gave up their bodies and led others away from the church for the devil in exchange for otherworldly power.
The Salem Witch Trials started by little girls acting strangely and then accusing others to have bewitched them. The defendants during the Salem Witch Trials took desperate matters to avoid being executed. Sarah Good resorted to saying the other accused “witch”, Sarah Osborne, had “tormented the children.” At one point Osborne even pretended to also have been infected by the witches’ magic. Tituba admitted to being a witch and told stories of flying around on broomsticks and being visited by creatures. Confessing to witchcraft was the only way a member of the accused wouldn’t be executed.
Her great aunt had been showing signs of mental derangement and the town’s people found that since it was hereditary she could have it leading them to say “even with insanity in the family” (Pg.2). Many townspeople said “she had gone completely crazy at last” referring to Miss Emily and that had folks had begun to feel bad for her because of it (Pg. 2). More evidence that led the general public to believe Miss Emily was a lunatic was that she slept with a dead man. After Miss Emily had died they recovered Homers body and discovered a fresh hair on the pillow next to his that suggested she had been sleeping with the dead body all along.
Mike McCracken American Literature Who is to blame? In The Crucible, the character Abigail Williams is to blame for the 1692 witch trials. Abigail is a mean and vengeful person who always wants her way, no matter who she hurts. Throughout the play her accusations and lies cause many people pain and suffering, but she seemed to never care for any of them except John Proctor, whom she had an affair with seven months prior to the beginning of the play. John Proctor and his wife Elizabeth had employed Abigail, until Elizabeth found out the affair and threw Abigail out.
The play opens in a scene of chaos; Betty Parris, daughter of Reverend Parris, has slipped into what is now known as a coma. When Betty does not awaken, the townspeople immediately turn to witchcraft as the reason for what is happening. Jealousy causes many of the people to accuse others of witchcraft. Debates over property lines occur; neighbors are at each others’ throats. Centering now upon John Proctor, and his wife, Elizabeth, the story takes a turn.