Essay on Rites of Violence

Submitted By stephaniehirst
Words: 321
Pages: 2

Natalie Davis spent a lot of time exploring the violent behaviors in the sixteenth century France. Also known as the religious riots. She analyzed this period of time going into great depth discovering what these riots were really about. In her article, “The Rites of Violence”, Davis examines the riots revealing details about them. The title of her essay has a significant meaning to the essay itself. When Davis states the phrase, “rites of violence” she is talking about the acts of violence. “Rites” simply means a religious act. That is the cut definition. As the article continues, the definition goes deeper. Davis considered a rite of violence as the actions of the Catholics and the Protestants, the way in which the followers justified murders, torturing, public hearings, etc. She states, “these episodes disclose to us the underlying function of the rites of violence”(64). It was all about how they justified their actions. They used religion as their cover up for these “rites”. These “rites” were just excuses for the violence because they were doing it for religion. In the article it gave many examples of how they would consider a person the devil and call them evil and then they would murder them. Obviously that is a sin but they would use the church to justify themselves and say that they are good. The church was more or less a government during the reformation. The church was law. And since it was, they used it to cover up these so-called “rites”.
Overall, the