Witchcraft In Macbeth

1265 Words 5 Pages
The time period in which Shakespeare occupied was filled with fear, panic, and lawlessness from the development of witches, but what exactly is witchcraft? King James believed himself to be an expert of the matter, inspiring Shakespeare to include his thought of witches in his play Macbeth. Witchcraft was a perceived facility to summon evil spirits and demons to harm others where the accused were identified as elderly women who had moles, scars, birthmarks, and/or sores. (UK Parliament)
Those are not the only qualifications to be a witch, they would often have a test to prove if the accused was in fact a witch. One man in particular, Andrew Evans, wrote a list of seven tests required to convict a person of being a witch. Once suspected, they
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This anarchy and obsession from King James with witchcraft came passed down from the many years of belief in witches from The Catholic Church. The accused witches were often found mainly in South East England and later executed. Five hundred and thirteen witches were put on trial from 1560 through the 1700’s, while one hundred and twelve of those were executed. Overall five hundred plus people were executed for being witches across England until Parliament passed a second law that repealed the Witchcraft Act After this second law was passed, the accused witches were only sentenced to prison for their supposed magical powers. Although people believed burning at the stake was a worldwide practice, it was only used in England and the Holy Roman Empire due to the Catholic Church. Until Protestants in England began to rise and then moved to America. (UK …show more content…
These trials were the closest thing to what Shakespeare 's ideals of witches were. The word “hysteria” was often used to describe the Salem Witch Trials. (Minkema, K.P.) It was known as hysteria because a mass of people became “afflicted” and would act out if they believed a witch was near. A famous accused witch, known as Bishop, who was accused of murdering children, bewitching pigs, and creeping through the night stated “Why do you seem to act witchcraft before us, by using the motion of your body, which seems to have influence on the afflicted?” (Benjamin, Ray) By saying this, Bishop asked why the afflicted girls would pretend or act out to try and convict someone of being a witch. Once these girls began their fits, the search for more witches snowballed. (Minkema, K.P.) After everything was said and done nineteen people were hanged at Gallows Hill and one, Giles Corey, was even pressed to death by having a heavy stones placed on the him until death. Many of the accused died while waiting for their trial in jail. (Evans, Andrew) Although some of the same tests to identify a witch, such as the “witch cake,” “the Devil’s mark,” and the “the prayer test,” were tried in the Salem Witch Trials as in England, there were many that were new to The Village of Salem. People of the church would take a stack of Bibles to see

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