Women In The Salem Witch Trials

Words: 2343
Pages: 10

In 1692 in Salem Village, women everywhere were living lives of “toil and trouble.” The hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials left men and women alike in awe of the human capacity for superstition and paranoia. Women especially were affected by the trials in Salem and lost lives, pride, social standing, and integrity because of the pressure placed on women in this time and place. The Salem Witch Trials were fed and nurtured by the patriarchal societal constructs of the puritan lifestyle and religion.
To be a woman in puritan society was a difficult task. Women were undermined and seen as sinful and weak. This difficulty is possibly why the Salem Witch Trials began. To be a woman in Puritan Salem, Massachusetts was monotonous and required patience.
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During the trials, it was eat or be eaten, or in other words, accuse or be accused. There are many theories as to why the women who accused the first three women did so. Some believe that the first few girls, such as Parris and Williams, were actually ill with convulsive ergotism. This results from eating barley that has been infected by a fungus called ergot. Convulsive ergotism can cause spasms, fits of screaming, delusions, and vomiting, all of which were symptoms observed in the girls. Another theory is that the girls were tired of the monotony of everyday life and trying to stir up trouble in order to find excitement anywhere possible. Other women are believed to have accused women and feigned bewitchment to draw attention away from their own compromised situation in society. Some women, years after the trials, stepped forward and admitted to having fabricated their accusations and faking fits, however, this was very uncommon. Many of these women had common traits to the others. These women were either bored, ill, or in a weak position themselves. These accusers forever changed the lives of the accused and their families in an attempt to change their own …show more content…
Tituba was a slave woman from Barbados, which at the time had a reputation for witchcraft. Tituba is said to have attempted to cure Parris and Williams using witchcraft the day before she was accused by the girls. By that time, young Betty and Abigail were quite aware of the fact that they were considered to be bewitched and were on the lookout for anyone who could be causing their fits, whether they were legitimate or not. After Tituba’s attempt to cure the girls, their symptoms seemed to grow only worse. It is likely that the girls saw Tituba’s only proven attempt at witchcraft and assumed that she was the one who caused their convulsions and paranoia that they reported. As a slave woman living with the Parris family, Tituba was at a particular disadvantage. As a woman of color, she was perhaps at the greatest disadvantage she could have been at in Salem. Tituba at her initial trial was perhaps one of the greatest catalysts of the paranoia that ensued in