The Salem Witch Trials


The domination of religion along with mass hysteria culminated in the conviction of over 200 men and women during the witch trials of 1692. Salem, Massachusetts endured a gothic nightmare of fear that sent twenty poor souls to meet their master, in Heaven or Hell (Robbins 56).
New England in the 17th century was composed of communities of fanatically rigid Calvinists. The unknown was categorized as evil and the Devil’s power was thought to be as strong as God’s. Massachusetts Bay settlers were mainly Puritans who considered the Devil, in particular, their personal enemy; since their religion was the true one Satan was most anxious to destroy. Doctors, judges, schoolmasters, and ...

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(Robbins 56).
In the Massachusetts Bay Colony, a strong belief in the Devil, factions among Salem Village fanatics and rivalry with nearby Salem Town, a recent small pox epidemic, and the threat of attack by warring tribes created a fertile ground for fear and suspicion (S.W.M. Ed.1).
The dramatic story unfolds through the influences of a slave girl from the West Indies. The slave to Reverend Samuel Parris and his family, Tituba, liked to tell Voodoo stories of her native islands to the young girls of Salem (Carpenter 25). The aging Tituba was not an enthusiastic worker, but she liked taking care of the children, and she spent much of her time in the parsonage kitchen telling them stories of magic and showing them fortune-telling tricks, with both the slave and the children being careful that the Parrises knew nothing of their talk (Robbins 58).
Sometime during the cold, gloomy January of 1692, other girls, most of them older than Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams, Rev. ...

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affliction, they named three women, including Tituba, as witches. On February 29, warrants were issued for the arrests of Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne. Osborne and Good maintained innocence, Tituba confessed to seeing the devil who appeared to her “sometimes like a hog and sometimes like a great dog”. Tituba also confessed that there was a conspiracy of witches at work in Salem (S.W.T. Chr. 2).
Magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin examined Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne in the meeting house in Salem Village. Tituba confessed to practicing witchcraft (S.W.T. Chr.2).
Ann Putnam, the daughter of the village’s prosperous and highly respected Sergeant ...

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Added: 10/7/2008 07:11:46 PM
Category: American History
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2223
Pages: 9

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