The Causes Of Witchcraft Hysteria In The Salem Witch Trials

1110 WordsNov 20, 20175 Pages
In 1692, the British colony of Massachusetts endured abnormal accusations of witchcraft against more than 150 people (Prentice Hall Literature, p. 1087). Many factors caused the witchcraft hysteria to come alive during the 1600’s. Two important factors were: Daemonologie, written by England’s King James I, and the bewildering behavior of the accusing teenage girls. While Arthur Miller explains that the accusations could have been made over the lust for land, there are also reasons not explained: how the role of women and children during the 17th century may have affected their behavior and the theory of Ergot fungus poisoning the girls’ minds. While Daemonologie did solely focus on the existence of witches among people, it also had major…show more content…
During the actual witch trials in Salem, the same group of girls did not conjure in the woods, or dance nakedly during the night, but instead grouped together to listen to the stories of an Indian slave, Tituba, whose stories involved magic and power. The girls were also much younger in actuality than Miller depicts them to be in his play (“Salem Witch Trials History Channel.” YouTube). While Arthur Miller does touch on the subject of the witch trials bringing about opportunities for revenge against disliked neighbors or enemies, he does not mention the role of women and children during this time period. In the 17th century, as well as centuries before and after, the role of women was to serve their husband and fill his desires: bearing a child, meeting his sexual desires, keeping a clean household, and serving her family food. She was not to be seen as an equal to her husband or any other man, and rarely ever talked to her husband about matters involving business, religion, or important decisions (“Salem Witch Trials History Channel.” YouTube). The same concept applied to children during this time, with the idea of “children should be seen and not heard.” When the two qualities are put together, a female child, you can only imagine how inferior they felt and how insignificantly they were treated by surrounding men in the community. With this in mind, as well as considering
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