The Witch Hunt Craze And The New World Essay

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, religious persecution that was largely caused by the Catholic Church and their declaration of the evils of witchcraft in the witch hunting manual Malleus Maleficarum, and the powerful terror of female sexuality.

Women’s limited role in society made them far more susceptible to witchcraft accusations than men- women were forced to adhere to a submissive role in society, intended to be utterly dependent on men. 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…

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