Women And Witchcraft: Equalization Of Women To Devil (Research Paper Sample)
It's The History of Witchcraft and my paper is regarding the women that were originally identified and how they were looked at, why there were witch hunts.
Please use the following sources as part of the 8 that must be included.
Chaudhuri, Soma. “Women as Easy Scapegoats.” Violence Against Women 18, no. 10 (October 2012): 1213–1234.
Karlsen, Carol F. The devil in the shape of a woman : witchcraft in colonial New England. New York: Norton, 1998.
Parkin, Sally. “Witchcraft, women's honour and customary law in early modern Wales.” Social History 31, no. 3 (August 1, 2006): 295–318.
Williams, Selma R. Riding the nightmare : women & witchcraft from the Old World to colonial Salem. 1st HarperPerennial ed. New York, NY: HarperPerennial, n.d.
Zika, Charles. The appearance of witchcraft : print and visual culture in sixteenth-century Europe. London ;: Routledge, 2007.
Women And Witchcraft
Ever since the advent of Christianity, there has been a strong social obsession with the intricacies of the occult, and particularly so with regards to how it affects individuals. A long history of religion has not only sought to bring humanity closer to God but also to demonstrate God's power over the devil and his legions of demons and worshippers, of which witches were considered a vital part of. In this way, the desire to enforce religious conformity within the society drove the church to expunge any sort of opposition that they faced, and particularly so when said opposition was considered to be in league with the devil. To this end, many women and men suffered unimaginable torture, as well as painful deaths, at the hands of both inquisitors and angry ignorant mobs after being accused of practicing witchcraft. Unfortunately, the bulk of these victims were women, and in most cases, were simply innocent women unwilling to conform to the social expectations placed on them by an authoritarian patriarchal society. [Zika, Charles., The appearance of witchcraft: print and visual culture in sixteenth-century Europe. London: Routledge, 2007., 31.]
Historically, witchcraft, at least to the layperson, is considered to be the engagement in evil practices that are not only supported by the devil but which also cause harm to others within the society. This broad categorization of witchcraft was partly responsible for the deaths of many men and women, seeing as being accused of practicing witchcraft was in itself quite simple. This shallow definition was greatly supported by the Catholic church, which significantly boosted the public's belief in said practices while still legitimizing the victimization, torture, and murder of many men and women, a large number of whom were innocent. Historically, witchcraft has been considered a practice of women and was considered so grounded on the false equalization of women to the devil. The church, and the society, predominantly considered women to be sexually insatiable slaves of Satan, and as such prime candidates to carry out the devil's work as witches. Although utterly false, it is this perception that eventually shaped the social perceptions people had of witches, not only in Europe but also in America. [Chaudhuri, Soma., “Women as Easy Scapegoats.” Violence Against Women 18, no. 10 (October 2012): 1213-1214.] [Sollée, Kristen J., and Coz Conover., Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive. 2017., 52.]
It is worth noting that insofar as witchcraft is concerned, the Inquisition played a significant role in shaping social perceptions of witches. Inquisitors extensively tortured women, and a few men, in the search for physical evidence that women were witches. The use of brutal torture devices and methods on women's breasts and genitalia essentially ensured that a great number of women confessed to the accusations in order to alleviate the pain they were subjected to. The shocking similarities of the confessions of different accused witches provided traction for the Inquisition, in spite of the fact that almost all confessions were obtained under torture. Similarly, the fact that almost all witches that confessed ended up providing names of other women that were their accomplices hints at the disingenuous nature of the Inquisition. Because of this, the Church was able to develop a consistent narrative surrounding witchcraft, and in doing so ensure that the Inquisition remained active and operational. This not only eliminated any potential opposition to the Church but also reinforced the traditional family values that it cherished. This constituted the cyclic nature of witch hunting. Unfortunately, it is these principles that were still used many
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