Pre-Classical Criminology In The Salem Witch Trials

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Pre-Classical Criminology in The Salem Witch Trials
The Salem Witch Trials provide an ardent example of Pre Classical Criminology and the beliefs of the era. Demonic Possession and witchcraft are the dominant arguments for criminal activity. Puritans considered these spiritual practices as foretelling misfortune and “forces of Darkness.” (Sargent, 2003). The Puritans were also victims of public humiliation as a way to cleanse their spirits and purge the sin from their bodies and souls. In the film “The Salem Witch Trials,” a man is quoted saying “forces of darkness are upon us.” The film displays many events related to these dark forces. Indians attack the village. One of the barns is set ablaze though the determining cause is never found. This fire was very dangerous as it could have easily spread throughout the village and was seen as a bad omen. One of the women in the village has a stillborn birth. This woman had also had two other stillborn births. This statement sums up the collective feeling of the individual and
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(“The Salem Witch Trials,” 2011). In one instance, a woman is stripped of all of her clothing, but rather than stand ashamed and dejected, the individual maintains poise and dignity. This creates an effect of defiance rather than innocence and the people of Salem view it as a confirmation that the woman has been found guilty of the act of witchcraft because due to Puritan beliefs, the individual should have been ashamed and humbled rather than dignified. This poise was seen as a lack of fear or care of position. As a sign of disrespect toward the villagers and towards God and in doing so preventing any form of reconciliation. There would be no purification of the body or soul from someone so “corrupt”. This also instilled fear amongst the villagers by announcing the presence of the witches and confirming evermore that their practices were continuing within the
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