How do the witch trials empower individuals who were previously powerless?
The witch trials gave people power over people that they wouldn’t have had any legal or ethical way. The witch trails propped up flawed, generally not good people, and that’s who was accusing people most of the time. In this essay we will look at people who the witch trails elevated to previously intangible heights of power, popularity, and respect and to finish I will talk about some examples of modern witch-hunts that are happening today or recently. My family used to have this thing called “Bella’s the boss” where she would choose what pizza we had, what shows and movies we watched, and the music we listened to in the car (what parents do to keep the youngest one part of the group, am I right?) and when we’d say “But Dad, this show is better”, he’d say “Bella’s the boss. Needless to say when she got old enough, and the power was stripped away, it led to many heated discussions by 4-year-old Bella. This is similar to what happened in the crucible, as you’ll see if you continue reading this essay.
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Parris is a hypocrite. He is a crooked leader of the local church in the village, and at one point lots of people would come and listen to him talk about the fiery pits of hell, and after a while people stopped showing up because they don’t need that kind of negativity in their life, but to himself he’s infallible, so the only natural reason people weren’t showing up was because the devil was leading them astray, when in reality, they’re sick and tired of hearing that shrew of a man preach about damnation and eternal suffering. The witch trials elevated him to a new level. He was seen almost as a savior… A deliverer from evil if you will. He was part of the holy court. This position of power elevated him to a position to get back at people who were talking bad about him behind his back by him accusing them of dealings with the devil, and subsequently ending their lives. He would not have had that opportunity otherwise.
Abigail Williams was a maid pretty much before these events, and some might argue the whole thing was to win back the recognition of John Proctor, the man she feels is her true love or whatever. She had no say in almost anything (or respect), but once she started saying that she could see things and people started believing her, there was no going back. People thought of her as a diviner, and the opinion of the people in her village changed strikingly. She was zero to hero, in a society where at one point women didn’t have much roles in a society. She was power crazy, seeing how she didn’t do much to earn that power in the first place, and that led to the events of the rest of the book. She used to be powerless, and then over the course of almost a week, she became almost a deity.
If you thought witch hunts were a thing of the past, you thought wrong. There have been quite a few “witch hunts” in recent years. The red scare was against communism, the persecution of republicans and supporters of Donald Trump, and the #metoo movement (not saying this is bad necessarily, but if you stick around I’ll explain). These events have empowered people who would not have been so “infamous” had this not come about. Look at former Senator Joseph McCarthy. He probably wouldn’t have gone down in history as anything more than a senator had he not done the infamous McCarthy legislation, thereby attaching his name to a permanent piece of American history. People who persecute republicans and supporters of the republican party (or vice versa) are kind of giving themselves power over people, because they think that they are better than them in a way, and that they have a reason to persecute them, and the me to accusers are empowered because a single allegation could ruin someone’s career.
I’m not saying that their stories aren’t credible I’m just saying that not all of them are true. Sometimes I’m sure it becomes kind of a “if we don’t believe them, we will be seen as sexist” or vice versa. there are documented examples of women completely fabricating allegations just to screw people over and ruin their lives (see https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/03/29/a-woman-says-she-was-raped-by-3-rugby-players-the-jury-disagreed/?utm_term=.f6b65c94fc7e by Amanda Erickson) and that can undoubtedly give people a sense of power, especially if they can dethrone someone rich and powerful (as is the case with Harvey Weinstein [which turned out to be true, which is good because then he deserved it]) or a CEO of a company or whatever. Sometimes they don’t investigate, and are often times guilty until proven innocent, leaving the once powerful at the mercy of the court of public opinion.
The witch trials have empowered people who were otherwise powerless. They gave them say in legal places and things they normally wouldn’t have had in the first place, and they abused that newfound power to get back at all those who had wronged them in the past, and because of that, many innocents lost their lives or careers.
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