Research Paper: The Reflections: Young Goodman Brown Vs, The Salem Witch Trials

2434 words - 10 pages

Research Paper: The reflections: Young Goodman Brown vs, The Salem Witch Trials
1692 in Salem Massachusetts. You have just been accused by and “afflicted girl” of being a witch. The reason you have been accuse could be many possibilities. Perhaps you’re reclusive, talk to yourself, or exhibit some other form of eccentric behavior. Perhaps you were in a previous dispute involved with the family of the conflicted girl. Perhaps you go to the wrong church or side with the wrong faction within the congregation. Perhaps you support the accused or worse accuse the accusers of lying . Whatever the case may be your fate is in the hand s of the afflicted now.
What emerged in Europe as early as the ...view middle of the document...

A later explanation was said to be convulsive egotism ,brought on by ingesting rye, at those times eaten as cereal and also used as a common ingredient in breads explained by Linda Caporel in a 1976 science magazine .(3) The widely known novel written by Cotton Mather was all the rage in new England(source). Mather described witch craft of a woman in Boston, since the descriptions were similar to those of the afflicted girls it made it easier to believe them. Tituba Caribbean slave, along with Sarah Good, homeless beggar and Sarah Osborne all improvised woman were the first to be brought to trial. “The three accused witches were brought before the magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne and questioned, even as their accusers appeared in the courtroom in a grand display of spasms” (4)
These women were all easy targets and had low status in the community. Osborne claimed innocence as did Good, however Tituba confessed claiming “the devil asked her to sign his book and do his work” she admitted to signing the book, a symbolism of signing away her soul. If Tituba didn’t confess there may not have been a Salem witch trial, but since she did all three accused were sent to jail where they perished and the hysteria spread across New England . Accusations soon rippled through sale , Bridget Bishop was the first to be hanged after pleading innocence her defense was unable to save her life.
Minister, Cotton Mather wrote a letter imploring the court not allow spectral evidence , testimonies about dreams and visions since they were un reliable, being that most dreams come from your fears and it was evident that people feared the witches. The court ignored him and hung more of the accused than before. It wasn’t until the president of Harvard being Cottons father followed his sons actions , denouncing the use of spectacle evidence. On his accused wife’s behalf he states “ It were better ten suspected witches should escape than one innocent person condemned”(2). Governor Phipps dissolved the court of Oyer and later pardoned all who were imprisoned on witch craft charges.(6)
The damage was already done(5) Although the dust had settled the wounds were still fresh. The Salem witch trials hysteria had caused 141 to be accused, 19 hanged and an old man pressed to death “the true interrogation” Following the trials and executions many involved like Judge Samuel Sewall publicly confessed error and guilt on January 14,1697 In 1702 the court declared the trials unlawful , later in 1711 a bill was passed to restore the rights and good names of those accused. It was not until 1957 when Massachusetts formally apologized for the events that occurred in 1692.
It had been 100 years since the Hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials came to a halt. It was into Puritan, Salem, Massachusetts that Nathaniel Hawthorne was born. It was his puritan roots he couldn’t escape though he tried relentlessly .In the quest to find himself Nathaniel Hawthorne writes the short story...

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