The History Of Witchcraft As Kittredge And Nissenbaum Essay

1954 Words Dec 14th, 2016 8 Pages
Instead of looking at the history of witchcraft as Kittredge did, Boyer and Nissenbaum focused on the social and economical factors at play within seventeenth-century Salem among the male population. Boyer and Nissenbaum state that the more we have come to know these men for something like what they really were, the more we have also come to realize how profoundly they were shaped by the times in which they lived. For if they were unlike any other men, so was their world unlike any other world before or since; and they shared that world with other people living in other places. Parris and Putnam and the rest were, after all, not only Salem Villagers: they were also men of the seventeenth century; they were New Englanders; and, finally they were Puritans.
The authors here are expressing the idea that there were outside factors at work. These men came with values and ideas, not specific to Salem alone. Additionally, the Salem men had common conflicts and common power struggles. One major factor Boyer and Nissenbaum bring up was that “for the crucial first three months of the Salem witchcraft outbreak, the authorities had no official recourse except to throw suspects into jail without trial” and “the basic problem was that while more and more suspected witches and wizards were being arrested, not one trial had yet been held. Indeed, there could be none, for during these months Massachusetts was in the touchy position of being without a legally established government!”…

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