Essay on The Salem Witch Trials

762 Words Oct 31st, 2016 4 Pages
The Salem witch trials established a way to persecute empowered women as well as other outsiders in Puritan society by creating a toxic mindset in which both all people in the town were pitted against each other. However, this mindset grew from the root of all of Salem’s fears and anxieties which not only helped perpetuate the mindset, but also became the ‘justified’ reasons to condemn innocents for being witches. Women like Bridget Bishop and Sarah Good were persecuted not by concrete evidence, but by the characteristics they displayed that caused insecurities in the patriarchal society. By relying on the traits that went against the Puritan (as well as patriarchal) ideals: ignoring approved gender roles and/or having the wrong socioeconomic standing, the town of Salem condemned outsiders through the intense suspicion and vigilantism within their own community, allowing the mania of the witch trials to reign with little resistance for an extended period of time. One of the first accused and the first to be put on trial, Bridget Bishop, sets the precedent for what characteristics made women vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft, especially that of ignoring approved gender roles. One of the critical ways Bishop defied the gender roles in Puritan society was that she was considered very attractive by men in town and embraced her femininity through her clothing choices by wearing a nontraditional red embroidered paragon. Both during her examination and trail, her…

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