Madchen Amick: Witchcraft In The Nineteenth Century

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Madchen Amick, an American actress, once said, “I do love that witches haven 't really been explored that much. Usually, witches are the little side character... a bad female character that comes in and leaves”. Throughout history, witches have been portrayed as many different things; old, scary, but do people really know about “witches” and their historical past? Although the fifteenth century was a progressive and prosperous time for many in Europe, tens of thousands of people were killed as a result of witchcraft; associations with the devil, unexplained nature, and evil doings.
In her writings, Emily Oster noted, “Beginning in the thirteenth century, it became widely accepted that witches existed, and were capable of causing physical harm to others and could control natural forces” (216). The word “witch” comes from old English “wicca or wicce”, meaning “a woman (or man) thought to have evil magic powers”. Witches were rebels against the church and society, and were often described as healers and guides who survived a cult.
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It is estimated that a total of one million people were executed for practicing witchcraft. These killings started in southwest Europe, eventually spreading to northern and eastern Europe, although some countries saw scarcely any executions, including Iceland, Portugal, and Spain. By the eighteenth century, Scotland’s social elite began to pay no attention to witchcraft.
In the time of fifteenth century Europe, the Renaissance was taking place. The Renaissance was a cultural rebirth that brought wealth to all social classes, that occurred in Italy and in other places throughout Europe. Witchcraft was also taking place during the same time period as the Renaissance, so many people did not know that witch burnings were taking
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