The Existence Of Witches By William Shakespeare

1329 WordsMar 8, 20156 Pages
The Existence of Witches Over the centuries, the image and the meaning of a witch have undergone a strange transformation. Most people affiliate the word with that of a woman that practices some form of magic; often depicted as evil conjurers who laid curses on others. However, they have been a popular myth throughout the history of humanity. It is safe to assume that people created witches in order to explain some phenomena that existed in ancient times. In modern times, the concept of a witch is nothing more than a fictitious belief because science has discredited the existence of real witches; or perhaps real witches have evolved into something else. When the word witch comes to mind, most people would describe an old lady wearing…show more content…
Witches have changed majorly between different cultures. Examples are Pagan witches, Puritan witches, or even modern witches. Provided that concept of witchcraft is complex and often varies depending on culture and societies, let us look into Europe first. In Medieval European belief, witchcraft is associated with the pagan culture which predominated in most of the continent before Christianity expanded in Europe. Witchcraft was often associated with religious and medicinal roles. Bengt Ankarloo did an extensive research in the history of witchcraft, and in his book Witchcraft and Magic in Europe, he Ankarloo mentions that “The church sought to destroy paganism by ingestion [which] advanced the development of witchcraft, convincing those who remained attached to the old gods that they were really revering demons” (46). Bengt already gives us a good insight into how the infamous witches should really credit the church since they were initially trying to put a bad image on all pagan theology so that they could gain followers by establishing that demons were evil and people were worshiping Satan. Witches, before their antagonized image of the church, belonged to cults that worshipped Dionysius, the ancient pagan god of wine and fertility. Women in these cults would often conduct and exhibit rites with “frenzied dancing and song, obscenity, and consumption of raw meat” (47) and there was a particular group known as the cult of Diana. The cult of Diana was
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