The Salem Witch Trials were a gruesome part of our history in America. More than two hundred people were accused of witchcraft during years of 1692 through 1693. Historians believe that Ann Putnam Jr. and other accusers were badgered to accuse certain people. The parents (of the afflicted girls), Thomas Putnam and Reverend Samuel Parris told the afflicted girls to accuse others, were thought to be seeking out revenge for the accused. Most of the accused victims were either very wealthy or were social outcasts.
Nineteen people were hung due to false judgement by human nature and society. Taking place in a small village called Salem, inside of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, during a depressing seventeenth century, was a movement that would challenge the nation’s religious and psychological beliefs. Innocent people were being accused of witchcraft, when rather they were just ill or not taken care of properly by family and friends. Thought to be caused by stress, fear, and panic, the Salem Witch Trials was an event that changed the nation’s view on mental illness because of false assumptions and mischievous behavior. The Salem Witch Trials was a series of false accusations of witchcraft taking place in Salem, which during the seventeenth century, was apart of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
The main cause behind the Salem witch trials can be said to be Ergot Poisoning, also known as Ergotism, where a victim would fall to severe Muscle Spasms and the effects of a modern day LSD. A dark time in American History, the Salem witch Trials all began in December of 1691, when the “afflicted” girls first accused Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne of witchcraft. This Hysteria came to an end an year later in the fall of 1692 (Capourel). In this short period a series of unexplainable events took place, starting with a “trigger” in Tituba admitting to in fact working with the Devil(Goodheart). This is all the drama that a insecure, yet religiously devout community, such as Salem needed to turn to witchcraft and the Devil for a scapegoat.
And Goody Osburn…”(Miller 46-47) This moment shows the Putnams large role in the blaming of witchcraft because after they ask about a name people respond with those exact names although the blaming wasn’t real. Another person who contributed to the witchcraft hysteria is Reverend Parris. Samuel Parris was quick to blame and quick to make bad remarks about people he didn’t like. Most of all Parris wants to keep up his reputation so if word got out that he niece was acting like a barbarian in the woods he would be shamed upon. In the play Parris says, “If you trafficked with spirits in the forest I must know it now, for surely my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it.” This quote
Religion was a very strong influence in the lives of Puritans as they followed a very strict moral code and based their entire lives on their faith. Most Puritans were taught from the Bible that "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" (Doc. A), which explains why the witch scare was taken so seriously and why the accused were punished so harshly. They believed and feared that "evil spirits were all around" (Doc. C) as noted in Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcraft and Possessions by Cotton Mather, who at that time was a reputable expert in the "invisible world."
Salem, Massachusetts in the year sixteen ninety-two is remembered as a time of mass hysteria. The citizens of Salem were being “attacked” by an unseen force, of whom they perceived to be none other than Satan himself. The common belief was that the devil recruited witches to do his dirty work for him. They believed these witches were hidden right under their noses, members of their own town. The citizens felt it was their duty to destroy the witches for the good of the community.
What caused the people of Salem to go into a hysteria and accuse each other of witchcraft in 1692? It could have been a number of factors could have caused the Salem Witch Trials Hysteria of 1692. A hysteria is when a group of people experience something with a heightened emotional state, often leading to fogged decision-making skills or inability to see logic. These factors would not have caused such an extreme situation on their own, but when together they created the worse case scenario for the people of Salem. These factors were local feuds, jealousy, religion-based anxiety, a case of hysteria, and upset over a fast economy change.
In 1692 the people of America witnessed the worst show of human greed and violence disguised in the veil of religion, The Salem Witch Trials. With the fear of divine punishment, these trials in the early courts of Salem prosecuted at least 185 thought-to-be witches on the basis of religious beliefs, leading to twenty public executions and 4 others to die in prison (Conforti, 2008, p. 1). What these Puritan colonists learned at the end of these trials impacted the lives of those present, and the course of American History. These trials brought about the Age Of Reason in America, changing how we interact socially, our skepticism, and our ability to think and live life without threat of divine power. The Salem Witch Trials ultimately helped shape the future of America.
The witch scare of 1692, caused by a group of young girls, created insanity in the town of Salem leaving two hundred people arrested and twenty dead on the charge of witchcraft. In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, many peoples beliefs on witchcraft change and develop over the course of this time due to the persecution of hundreds of people in Salem. Reverend Hale is among these people, originally coming to help the people of Salem as a master in the study of witchcraft but overtime changes his thoughts on the matter. Reverend Hale 's views on witchcraft are altered over the course of the play. Reverend Hale 's beliefs in witchcraft are strong in the opening of the play.
The Puritans brought these fears to Salem as they colonised New England in an attempt to flee religious maltreatment in Europe. However, ironically, the Puritans would establish a highly conservative and religiously intolerant settlement; a society where church and the government are a single, explicitly stringent, entity. The austere attitude of the Salem community in 1692-1693, at the start of the Salem Witch Trials, would become visible. This was a series of events that have become an infamous part of American colonial history for being described as “mass hysteria” as they consisted of prosecutions, executions and imprisonments that infiltrated Massachusetts. The prosecutions were held under the premise that locals within Salem had begun to act peculiarly: morphing their bodies unnaturally, becoming physically ill and incoherently babbling.