Role in Salem Witch Trials

The fear of death is often greater than the fear of God thus creating a catalyst for what would become the greatest witch craze in American history. Although religious intolerance was the leading factor of accusations the patriarchal mindsets in these small colonial towns were the perfect breeding grounds for country-wide terror. The Puritan religion, in which the majority of the town belonged was a religion in the midst of reformation had zero tolerance for those living in sin and a lot of the townspeople did everything in their power to maintain the god-fearing social quo. “ According to most New Englanders, God was constantly at work in their day-to-day lives, testing and tempting, rewarding and punishing, as each individual deserved. Puritans believed that no man or woman could ever deserve salvation…”. This lack of faith in salvation and the natural goodness of humankind made it easy for them to take God’s judgment into their own hands.

This paved the way for personal vendettas to be transformed into hasty accusations. The first case to bring this public anxiety to rise was the daughter and niece of a local minister, Samuel Parris in his doctrine is referring to these witches as “devils” you can see all throughout these documents the religious vocabulary used by people in all occupations. The doctor that Parris went to see in regards of his niece and daughter advised him as a prognosis was “to be much in prayer for the discovery of what was yet secret and to wait upon the Providence of God”. This was a convenient way to out a bad neighbor or anyone who dared to express individuality. Rigid conformity was expected from every member of society. These are the reasons that religion was the single most important factor in these trials and why it was so widespread.

Another theme that played a huge role in these Salem Witch trials was the patriarchal mindset of not only the men leading the town, but the women humbly believed that they were less than every man on Earth. This is also relating to the religion portion of these trials considering all Puritans were living purely by how they interpreted scripture. The Puritans believed that since Eve was made from Adam’s rib that women’s bodies were physically weaker therefore the devil was able to possess women easier than men; which was another reason why “ Seventy-eight percent of all accused witches in New England were women. Seventy-six percent of those accused during the Salem panic were female.” which is no shock considering the time period. Puritan women were made to believe that their job on this Earth was to obey God’s word and become wives and mothers, to stay home, cook, and clean for all. Tituba being an important role in these trials, a new issue pops into these trials not only is she a woman, she is a woman of color which automatically makes her more susceptible to being accused of witchcraft, spoiler alert she confesses like a lot of other women in hopes of repenting and getting a lesser sentence.

In this book, one of the women who agreed to work with officials by snitching on others, who were most likely innocent, said the devil came to her as a Native American woman and to these white men that was their worst fear. In conclusion, religion played the most important role in these witch trials not only in Salem but all over the world. The Puritan lifestyle was based off of the word of God and without it they would not be afraid of God’s wrath, life after death, and the Devil possessing their sinful souls. They exiled the ones who dared to step outside of what they believed to be the perfect lifestyle under God’s rule that everything happened for a reason and take that matter into their own hands. The patriarchal lifestyle ties into religion in a sense as to the fundamental base why women were less than men.

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Role In Salem Witch trials. (2022, Aug 22). Retrieved September 22, 2022 , from

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