The Salem Witchcraft Trials began not as an act of revenge against an ex-lover, as they did in The Crucible, but as series of seemingly unlinked, complex events, which a paranoid and scared group of people incorrectly linked. And while there were countless other witchcraft trials, Salem trials remain the best-known. In Salem, fears of witchcraft perpetuated by popular writings were personified when two girls were said to be bewitched. A hysteria overcame the people of Salem, whose …show more content…
The rest is history.
Many historians today believe that religion was not the catalyst of the Salem Witchcraft Trials. They cite a series of quarrels among townspeople as the cause of the string of accusations that sent more than 200 people to jail. Based on the few documented quarrels, this seems plausible. The town was divided into two factions; each wanted a different church leader. Like people today, many citizens of Salem probably held grudges (Richardson 6). In addition, there were land disputes between members of Salem Village, and between Salem Village and Salem Town. Many people saw the Trials as an effective means of gaining land and silencing embarrassing enemies. Accused witches?names were defiled. If the accused did not confess, they were imprisoned or hanged.
However, Chadwick Hanson, author of 㜁itchcraft at Salem,?argued that this account of the Trials, written by Reverend Charles Wentworth Upham, was fictional. pham had been a minister of Salem and then its mayor. He was as interested in genealogy and local history as he was in witchcraft, and therefore he outlined in considerable detail the village quarrels he thought to be one cause of the events. ... The overall impression he leaves is that the whole affair is a monstrous conspiracy, in which the ministers and magistrates took advantage of the fraudulent behavior of the afflicted girls to exercise a mindless and irresponsible power at the expense of the suffering community?(xi). Hanson was