• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How Did it All Begin: The Salem Witch Trials

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Jason Lee Chernenko Professor Karen Randolph LIT 271 online 17 October 2007 How Did it All Begin: The Salem Witch Once upon a time in a land called Salem, Massachusetts, lived a little girl and her father, Reverend Samuel Parris. According to the National Geographic Salem Witch Trials website, Reverend Samuel Parris started a church in 1689 in which he was a very strict Reverend who demanded money from the villagers. After a few years of putting up with his demands, the villagers stopped giving him money in October 1691. This greatly affected him and his child, causing much tension in their household. To escape from the tension, his daughter, Betty and cousin Abigail Williams would listen to the amazing tales of Tituba, the Parris family slave from Barbadoes (Internet National Geographic). They also enjoyed having their fortune told to learn if they would have good or bad lives (Internet Salem Witch Trials). In February, 1692, Betty, Abigail and their friend Ann Putnum began having "fits, convulsions, contortions and outbursts of gibberish" to which their family doctors attributed to witchcraft (Internet National Geographic). ...read more.

Middle

First of all, some have hypothesized in the past that the fits the girls were having could be a result of ergot poisoning from spoiled rye grain. With this being said, the girls could not possibly been having these fits from ergot poisoning only during specific times, such as when supposed "witches" were on trial. For example, during the trial of Rebecca Nurse, whenever Rebecca would move her body in agitated motions, the accusers would also contort their bodies in the same way, crying out in pain every time Rebecca would move (Internet Salem Witch Trials). If they had been poisoned by ergot, they would not be acting in this manner at any given moment. Next, the Salem Witch Trials were not a result of witchcraft, as the website Salem Witch Trials argues. Betty Parris and her cousin Abigail Williams often experimented with fortune telling (Internet Salem Witch Trials). At one time, while looking into a "venus glass" they saw a specter of a coffin (Salem Witch Trials). ...read more.

Conclusion

This put a lot of strain on her family. I conclude that this stress, along with Betty's sorcery beliefs lead to her breakdown and the mass hysteria of others. As stated above, not only were the poor accused of witchcraft, but also the church elite, which were the people that were actually going against the Harris family. Betty Harris finally lost it and wanted restitution for all the hurt that was felt by her family. After it started with Betty Harris, it just got out of control with the other accusers and mass hysteria started. People started claiming that they saw specters just to avoid being accused or their families being accused. In conclusion, though there is not a definite reason as to why the girls began acting in fits, the result of those fits were 25 innocent people's deaths. These episodes were due to the breakdown of Betty Harris from tension on her family by the villagers and the mass hysteria of witches spreading to others. This has been an on-going debate amongst many researchers and American historians. ?? ?? ?? ?? Chernenko 3 Chernenko 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Arthur Miller essays

  1. Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism.

    It was very significant that the girls screamed when God's name was mentioned. As a result, the accusations began. The strange events of Salem led to trials, in which the accused witches were, "proved" guilty. The means of proving them guilty were very disgraceful.

  2. Everyone has heard of the Salem witch trials, but what were they? Why did ...

    This sense of individualism led to the peoples to place their faults on things that were inside their own jurisdiction. "It was this idea combined with the strong sense of religion that influenced and nurtured the ideas of witches and witchcraft" (Brown p.

  1. Who or what was responsible For the Salem Witch trials?

    time But I cut off my hand before I'll ever reach for you again.' Abigail claims to have had a needle stabbed into her by Elizabeth Proctors spirit. This in turn enrages Proctor who tries to overthrow the court but fails and he, himself is accused by the maid, Mary that works for him and his wife.

  2. The Flaws of the Salem Witch Trials

    up by naming new suspects, led to the unrelenting spread of witchcraft accusations across the eastern Colony and brought discredit upon the trials"(Internet). Secondly, the Salem Witch trials assumed someone was guilty; whereas, in a trial today someone is assumed innocent until proven guilty.

  1. How Can We Explain The Salem Witchcraft Episode of 1962?

    Sometimes they were taken dumb, their mouths stopped, their throats choked, their limbs wracked and tormented so as might move a heart of stone, to sympathize with them, with bowels of compassion for them.'8 It was also said that

  2. What Were the Causes and Effects of the Salem Witch Trials.

    Rev. Parris noticed their odd behavior and asked the help of Dr. William Griggs. Dr. Griggs could find nothing wrong with the girls medically, so he said they were bewitched. The girls were asked to name the witches that had bewitched them and they spoke the names of three women.

  1. What do we learn of Salem and three of its inhabitants in the opening ...

    The text also mentions how there is an air of paranoia around him; Parris supposedly believes that ?he was being persecuted wherever he went, despite his best efforts?. The combination of his Puritan beliefs also leads him to regard children as ?young adults?, having ?never conceived that the children were

  2. The Real Salem Witch Trials

    Anne was the only girl involved to make an official apology in 1706 in front of a church congregation. She accused sixty two people in total. Abigail accused forty one. Interestingly enough, when Sarah Good was being tried she showed no signs of remorse or weakness.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work