Elizabeth Bathory: Blood Couyn Essay, Research Paper
Countess Bathory was Hungarian by birth. Records give her entry into the world as I56I. As a girl she was beautiful with long fair hair and an exquisite complexion. She was married off to an aristocratic soldier when she was fifteen and became mistress of the Castle of Csejthe in the Carpathians. Life in the dark, gloomy Csejthe Castle, while her husband was away on his various military campaigns, became very boring indeed. She was determined to liven things up. First she gathered round her a sinister band of witches, sorcerers and alchemists who taught her the black arts. Then, armed with her special flesh- tearing silver pincers, a manual of tortures her husband had used when fighting the Turks and a taste for flagellation learned from her aunt, she set out to indulge herself and while away the lonely hours.
When her husband died in I6o4 she had reached the difficult age of 43. She longed for a new lover to replace him but her reflection in the mirror showed her that time and indulgence had not improved her looks. One day she slapped the face of a servant girl and drew blood with her nails. She was convinced that that part of her body where the girl’s blood had dripped was much fresher and younger than before. It only needed the alchemists to add their opinion and she was convinced that drinking and bathing in the blood of young virgins would preserve her beauty for ever.
So, at the dead of night, the Countess and her cronies would tear about the countryside hunting for girls. They would be taken back to the castle, hung in chains and their blood used for the countess’ bath, the finest saved for her to drink.
The terrible woman carried on like this for five years until she began to realize the blood of peasant girls had not been terribly effective. In I609 she turned to the daughters of her own class. Offering to take in 25 girls at a time to educate them in social graces, she soon had a flourishing academy. Helped as usual by her peasant procuress, Dorotta Szentes, know as Dorka, she treated the `pupils’ with the same inhumane cruelty as she had treated the others. But this time she became too careless. The bodies of four girls were thrown over the castle walls. Before she realized her mistake villagers collected them and took them away to be identified. It was not long before her secret was out.
News of her reign of terror finally reached the ears of the Hungarian Emperor, Matthias II. He ordered that the Countess be brought to trial. But as an aristocrat she could not be arrested, so Parliament passed a new Act so that she would not be able to slip throught their hands. At her hearing in 1610 it was said she had murdered 6oo girls.
Dorka and her witches were burnt at the stake. The Countess escaped execution because of her noble birth. But she was condemned to a living death – walled up in a tiny room of her castle and kept alive by scraps of food pushed through the bars. She died four years later without a word of remorse.