Essay On The Witch Hunt Craze

1393 Words 6 Pages
The witch hunt craze that enveloped Europe and the New World throughout the 13th-16th centuries resulted in the senseless murders of countless people through horrifying methods of torture and execution, and all for seemingly no reason. Women constituted the vast majority of victims of the witch hunt craze that enveloped Europe and the New World throughout the 13th-16th centuries, with up to 80% of all witchcraft victims being women (Barstow, page 7), for a wide variety of reasons that can all be traced back to one thing: oppressive sexism that dominated the patriarchal society of early Europe. Women were the dominant victims of witch hunt mania due to a combination of the oppressive roles that were forced upon women in early European society, …show more content…
Women who refused to conform to the ideal of a submissive and dependent female were persecuted as witches, accused of everything from heresy to murder through the powers of witchcraft. Women were forced to adhere to the roles of the submissive wife and the nurturing mother, and those who openly defied those roles were the most common victims of the witchcraft craze. Women who existed on the fringes of society and lived a solitary life were often accused, alongside unmarried women- both wealthy widowers, who didn’t have to depend on a man to survive and young women who had yet to marry, specifically those who were beautiful and attracted the gazes of married men (History and Effects of Witchcraft Prejudice, 2016). The legends of witches was an inversion of the traditional motherhood roles, as witches were accused of crunching on children instead of falling into the traditional maternal role. The persecution of witches was also linked to women in the role of healer, which was occupied primarily by women throughout the history of early Europe as they used herbal based medicine to heal the townspeople. The authority of women to practice …show more content…
Although Christianity at one point regarded witches as the unfortunate victims of the devil’s manipulation, but in the 14th and 15th centuries their image rapidly became warped into that of a manic, sex crazed satanic servant who were brimming with evil and malicious intent towards all pure Christians (Covington, page 152). Christianity was a highly misogynistic religion, especially compared to the pagan religions where witchcraft was considered a benevolent practice, and thus women constituted the majority of the accused. Christianity regarded women as the weaker willed of the two sexes and far more likely to bow to the will of the devil.The infamous witch hunting manual Malleus Maleficarum, which was openly endorsed by the Catholic church and regarded as the ultimate word on witchcraft, serves as the most glaringly obvious example of the viciously misogynistic attitude of Christianity, and more specifically of the Catholic Church, towards both witchcraft and women as a whole. Malleus Maleficarum regarded women as weak, vile creatures, questioning “What else is woman but a foe to friendship, an unescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic danger, a delectable detriment, an evil of nature, painted with fair colours!” Malleus Maleficarum was a

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