Salem Witch Trials Essay Research Paper Salem

Salem Witch Trials- Essay, Research Paper

Salem Witch Trials-

Superstition and witchcraft resulted in many being hanged or

in prison. In the seventeenth century, a belief in witches and

witchcraft was almost universal. In Salem Massachusetts where the

witch trials take place many people who are suspicious is accused of

witchcraft and hanged. Arthur Miller wrote a play called The Crucible.

It is based on the Salem witch trials. The Salem witch trials change

many peoples lives and even led to death for some. The power of

superstition and hearsay can distort from the truth.

Four ministers of Salem joined Matther, and they spent a whole

day in the house of the afflicted in fasting and prayer. The result

of which was the delivery of one of the family from the power of the

witch. A niece and daughter of the parish minister at Danvers were

first afflicted. Their actions frightened other young people, who soon

showed the same symptoms, such as loss of appetite and sickness. A

belief quickly spread over Salem and throughout the state that evil

spirits are being seen in Salem. Terror took possession of the minds

of nearly all the people, and the dread made the affliction spread

widely. “The afflicted, under the influence of the witchery, “admitted

to see the forms of their tormentors with their inner vision” (Miller

1082). and would immediately accuse some individual seen with the

devil. At times the afflicted and the accused became so numerous that

no one was safe from suspicion and its consequences. Even those who

were active in the prosecutions became objects of suspicion.

Revenge often impelled persons to accuse others who were

innocent and when some statement of the accused would move the court

and audience in favor of the prisoner. “I saw Goody Osborn with the

devil” (Miller 1060). The accuser would declare that they saw the

devil standing beside the victim whispering the words in his or her

ear. The absurd statement would be believed by the judges. Some,

terrified and with the hope of saving their lives or avoiding the

horrors of imprisonment, would falsely accuse their friends and

relatives, while others moved by the same hopes, would falsely confess

themselves to be witches. Many of the accusers and witnesses came

forward and published denials of the truth of their testimony, to save

their own lives. Mr. Paris in the Danver family, who was one of the

most strong prosecutors of alleged witches, was compelled to

resign his charge and leave the country.

The acknowledgments of error and pleadings for mercy, could

not restore the spirits of those who are hanged, nor make changes for

the pains’ others had suffered. The trick had prevailed in greatest

desire more than six months, and it was not decreasing for more than a

year. During that time nineteen had been hanged, and Corey Giles who

is killed by the horrid process of pressing to death with stones

because he would say if was guilty or innocent. He continued to say

“more weight” (Miller 1113); until he died. In doing so, his family

could keep his land. Others had been tortured or frightened into a

confession of guilt or imprisoned.

As one can see the power of superstition and the hearsay can

distort the truth. The Salem witch trials were horrifying and it

changes many peoples lives. The belief in witches did not end with the

strange excitement. This strange episode in the history of

Massachusetts astonished the civilized world, and made an unfavorable

impression on others.

Work Cited

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. Ellen Bowler. ed. et al.

Literature the American Experiance. Englewood cliffs:

Prentice Hall, 1994.


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