Carol Karlsen 's The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England provides a sociological and anthropological examination of the witchcraft trends in early New England. By examining the records, Karlsen has created what she suggests was the clichéd 'witch ' based on income, age, marital status, etc. She argues that women who had inherited or stood to inherit fairly large amounts of property or land were at particular risk, as they "stood in the way of the orderly transmission of property from one generation of males to the next." These women, Karlsen suggests, were targeted largely because they refused to accept "their place" in colonial society. "The story of witchcraft is primarily the story of women . . . ." Karlsen argues for the relevance and importance of women’s roles in the panic of witchcraft fear in 17th Century American society. She subtly contests that specific interests were at work in the shaping of witchcraft accusations; book elaborates that a specific type of woman risked accusation based on her demographic representation in society. Karlsen further elaborates on her theme with, …show more content…
Karlsen leaps to the present with two short paragraphs concerning the connection of early America belief in witchcraft influencing modern thinking and fascination with historical witchcraft. She asserts, "the continuing power of woman-as-witch in our collective imagination"; she addresses the issue of the power that continues to mold and shape the perception of witches and witchcraft in modern America. Why is this relevant to the book and her original story? Why would she throw this in? Pondering these questions led to the conclusion that the reference to current thought links the "woman-as-witch" ideology to the current emphasis on female empowerment prevalent in feminist writing today. She subtly interjects a commentary on the absence of sufficient historical research concerning the role women played in shaping our society, past and
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Salem, 1692 Living in the second largest port, people say trade built Salem to be prosperous. However, the trade appears to deteriorate the equal society of first generation farmers, like me, and the fishermen. Luckily, living in the eastern section of the village has gained me prosperity through the richer soils unlike the less fertile western half of the village. Moreover, the western half of the village lost their political influence they once possessed. Most importantly, the western half is where the majority of the witches lives.
The first set of witchcraft persecutions occurred during Elizabeth 1st reign, this was Around 1563. Commonly people associated witches with a woman and the beliefs were the following of that they have made a pact with the evil spirit Satan. The rush of the witch persecutions mainly happened after 1563 and by the time period of 1750 roughly 200,000 witches were tortured, burnt, or hung across the whole of Western Europe. Therefore, in this essay, I will be mainly focusing and arguing which of the hysteria surrounding witchcraft and witchcraft trials had a greater impact in Britain or the American colonies in the time period of the 17th century. And I will be arguing it following different factors which could contribute to this such as the social factors geographical factors, religious factors and also control law and order.
The witch panic started in Salem, Massachusetts hanged 19 people and inspired a wide-swept fear of the Devil and witchcraft that lasted for over a year. Historians have discussed why this panic occurred for years, producing a slew of opinions on what caused one small community to erupt into such fear. Two such historians, Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, attempted to understand the 1692 Salem witch trials by analyzing Salem Village’s social and economic tensions dividing the community in the book Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft. Yet the two historians ignore the largest group of participants in the witch trials: women. When looking at the documents recording the events of 1692, however, a historian cannot escape the importance of the young girls who were first afflicted and started the accusations.
In his book, “A Modest Inquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft (1702),” clergyman John Hale comes forth to confront the recent events going on at the time. Initially, Hale alludes to the questionable actions and activities of the townspeople being accused of witchcrafts, and being imprisoned as punishment. In addition, he discloses how everyone suspicious will be accused, not even young children are safe from the hands of this fate. Hale’s purpose of publishing this book was to describe the incident of the Witch Trials, and to reveal his experience of the trials, since his own wife was accused. By employing a didactic tone, Hale relays the actions of the past that targeted the Puritans and those wrongly accused of witchcrafts, so this occurrence
In Document B, Demos presents that most of the accusers of witches were single females in their younger years of age. In the late 1600s, women were extremely dependent upon men for their financial stability, overall safety, and mental/emotional well being. In an interpretation of this document, it can be assumed that these younger female women were seeking family ties and protection in a harsher time period. On the same hand, Document C, a most likely extremely biased account, recounts the “bewitched actions” of Bridget Bishop, a witch, upon the afflicted. Samuel Parris, the examiner of Bishop, seems to shed a negative light on Bishop.
During the 1600s witchcraft, had become a large epidemic in New England. Women were the focus when it came to a person being accused of witchcraft. Men cannot be left out of this epidemic. There were a handful of men who were accused. Most of the men who were accused were either married to a female who had been accused of witchcraft.
This book was written by Arthur Miller and details the witch hunt frenzy in Salem, Massachusetts in the late 1690’s of the colonial USA. Two characters that really stick out in this story are Abigail Williams and John Proctor. Abby is the niece of Reverend Parris, who is afraid of having is power in
In Salem, Massachusetts, Puritans were strong believers in the Bible. The Bible states, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” The Puritans beliefs led to them accusing 20 innocent people of being a witch, this resulted in their deaths in 1692. Even though the Puritans couldn’t see it at the time, their accusations were really based off jealousy, lies, and Salem being divided into two parts. One cause of the Salem witch trial hysteria was jealousy.
The novel A Delusion of Satan written by Frances Hill describes the history of the Salem Witch Trials (“Salem”) in 1692, the causes and effects of the witch hysteria, and the biographies of major characters associated with the trials. In the novel, Hill started out explaining the Puritans’ beliefs and customs, the gender roles of men and women in Salem and why women were easily accused of being witches and practicing witchcraft in the 17th century. During that time, women were easily accused of practicing witchcraft because they were viewed as physically, politically and spiritually weaker than men. Men were perceived as the power, status, and worthy in the society, and they dominated women’s behavior and social status. In the 17th century,
Overall, the witch craze was one of the darkest times in history. A period in which man was strenuously tugged in ways that he hadn 't been before. His faith, his god, all of it was being contested by various events that were happening in the time. Because of this, the witch craze occurred, a result of the inner turmoil within man that was a result of something he had held on to so dearly being tugged and gnawed at. The witch craze resulted in the discrimination and intense focus on the conviction and execution of vulnerable women, people of old age, and people who 's execution would result in economic or
“Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you,” (Act I, 160). She was the first person in the play to accuse a person of seeing people summon spirits of the Devil. This caused a massive, wide-scale witch hunt to take place; families torn apart, mothers, fathers, and even children murdered for what was considered to be the greater good. Now, others began to accuse people of witchcraft and people who had been lifelong friends to each other now had no choice other than to point fingers at each other or be put to death. Widespread panic and unreasonable action was sweeping through everyone in Salem, all because of a little lie by
After reading “Devil in the Shape of a Woman: The Economic Basis of Witchcraft “by Carol Karlsen I was intrigued by Karlsen’s interpretation, and upset about the ways women were treated. During these witch hunts women and men alike were accused of the crime, but the majority were women. I found it interesting that she related the commonly known Puritan beliefs, which lead to accusations of witchcraft, with gender roles. She ultimately says that Puritans feared these accused women because they symbolized female independence. I found it shocking that women, often the wealthier, had a greater chance of being let go of their accusations if they had a husband to spoke on their behalf.
Accused and Betrayed Throughout the late 1600’s women had been accused of being a part of witchcraft. In this time women went through many disgusting torture treatments and got charged with many different things. When a women had been accused she would be “treated” with many different types of torture until they had died or had admitted to doing witchcraft. Some of the tortures were called: “The Garotte”,” Dunking the Witch”, and “The Boots”.
Witch hunts throughout history have similarly had common theme of being instances in history where extreme behavior where an “evil is constructed, identified, and persecuted”. Most importantly, the witch hunts were often carried out by formal authorities within and the society. In Salem the conditions of the Puritan society were ideal for and gave way to witch hunts; the society contained disease, hardship, and distal war threats. Many historians refer to the time period of the Salem Witch Trials as the “perfect storm”
A group of young girls began to behave strangely, complaining of physical maladies, visions, and trembling, and babbling uncontrollably. They blamed their behavior on three village women who, the girls believed, practiced witchcraft upon them. (“Salem Witch Trials” Gale). Women who were accused of witch crafted were imprisoned, then hanged, drowned and stoned (Karlsen). Throughout 1692, 156 women were accused of witchcraft, and 20 of them were sentenced to death (Karlsen).