The Devil In The Shape Of A Woman Analysis

Decent Essays
The Devil in the Shape of a Woman by Carol F. Karlsen is about the similarities, reasons, and differences of the victims of the Witchcraft trials in colonial New England. The characteristics of society in New England during the 1600s led to many accusations of witchcraft. The Puritans who had settled the area were not found of people who were different or had different ideas compared to them. This led to many of the people who the Puritans felt were off or strange to be accused of witchcraft. The people who were at the most risk were elderly women whose husbands had died, spoke out against the Church, or believed in another religion. Men could be accused, but they were normally related to the women who had already been accused. Individual …show more content…
Women were supposed to be subservient to her husband, and not lead or interpret scriptures or sermons in church. The reason for this is that the Puritans believed that Women were less educated and unable to understand anything important about society. This made women vulnerable to accusation if people believed that they didn’t follow their roles. The more that a women strayed from her role in society. Karlsen in the Devil in the Shape of a Woman said that witches are almost always described as “ deviants— disorderly women who failed to, or refused to abide by the behavioral norms of their society” (pg. 118). This supports that women who were not accepted or were considered an outcast were more at risk of being accused. The Puritan society is what created the roles that women played and decided who the outcasts were going to be. Anne Hutchinson, for example, broke the role of women in the church by hosting meetings in her house to discuss sermons and also claimed that God spoke directly to her. God told her that many of the pastors were telling false sermons, and this made the majority of the community angry. Hutchinson was the spiritual leader of a small sect of Puritans who …show more content…
The lack of children was seen as a sign that you were possessed and the rest of society would not view them as a perfect sample of their quality. While many midwifes were accused when a child that they were delivering was still born. The family would blame the death on the midwife claiming that she had cursed their child. Anne Hutchinson and many others were midwives before being accused of witchcraft. The poor understanding of medicine and conditions to give birth made being a midwife a job that involved a lot of death. In many cases these women were accused by society that they had used witchcraft to hurt the family. The inability for people to safely have a kid with the mother and the child surviving the majority of the time made the family want to blame someone. Once a woman was accused of witchcraft anything misfortunate that happens when she is around is going to come back to her. These midwives though were not targeted unless they were already in question because of their inability to conform to Puritan Society. If the midwife behaved normally in society then they were in far less danger of being accused of

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