Witchcraft Explains Unfortunate Events Analysis

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In “Witchcraft Explains Unfortunate Events”, E.E. Evans- Pritchard considers the importance of witchcraft as a rational thought for the Azande society in Sudan, Africa. The conceptions of natural or a supernatural did not exist because the concept explains why misfortune has occurred that is culturally relevant. Pritchard distinguished the difference between ‘witchcraft’ and ‘sorcery’ procedures because ‘sorcery’ had the ability to cause death or catastrophes, involved the use of spells to bring harm to others, and it can be learned. According to Pritchard, witchcraft was different because it developed through the idea of there a category of unconscious powers that explained the happenings of the word. Pritchard makes it clear that Azande …show more content…
To stem from this theory, Pritchard provides evidence that supports the claim that witchcraft is seen as ordinary in Azande culture. Pritchard quotes, “There is nothing remarkable about a witch--- you may be one yourself, and certainly many of your closest neighbours are witches” (Pritchard 1937:19), to showcase that the concept of ‘witchcraft’ was intertwined with everyday occurrences that it was not seen as unordinary or “awe-inspiring” (Pritchard 1937:19). Azande used witchcraft as explanations, and Pritchard explains the chain of causation that witchcraft is blamed as the cause for through the quote, “If you ask a Zande why he should say that the man was bewitched if he committed suicide on account of his anger with his brothers… that if this man had not been bewitched he would not have done what he did do” (Pritchard 1937:24). Through the linguistic approach, a certain society such as ours would give the ‘logical’ explanation and say that the man killed himself because he was angry with his brothers, however, Azande thought think that ‘rationally’ crazy people commit suicide and people do not kill themselves over a quarrel with their brothers because then there won’t be any people left in this …show more content…
These two ‘spears’ are natural causes and witchcrafts, and witchcraft is considered the ‘second spear’ because the Azande culture, the first and second person who killed the beast using the spear are considered the killers of the beast, however, death was by the first spear, and witchcraft was by the second spear. Pritchard give another example of this belief by saying that, “If a man is killed by an elephant Azande say that the elephant is the first spear and that witchcraft is the second spear and that together they killed the man” (Pritchard 1937:25), and this shows the plurality of causes and hunting metaphors that are used to explain the natural causes and mystical causes of death and tragedies. However, Pritchard also points out that witchcraft does not shield people from their actions as they are not considered when dealing with morality and individual responsibilities. This is connected to our own society because we do not allow scientific reasoning does not allow exemptions from crimes and failures involving ignorance and personality is not blamed on witchcraft because it should not conflict with one’s own weaknesses or the society’s social morals and issues. This is shown through the quote, “The Zande is not so naïve that be holds witchcraft responsible for the cracking of a

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