The Witch Craze Of The 1600

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The Witch Craze Of The 1600′S Essay, Research Paper Are there such things as a witch? If the answer is yes, then what do they look like? Where do they live? In what way are they different from the modern day illusionist or magician? If the answer is no, then explain why nearly the entire population of Europe was convinced that witches existed for more then a century so much so, in fact, that a section of their written laws was devoted to the steps for discovery and prosecution of witches ? If you were to ask the average individual in North America what they new about witches, they would probably mention something about the Salem witch trials that took place in Massachusetts during colonial America. The fact of the matter is that the twenty witch burnings that took place in

Salem in 1692 pale in comparison to the witch craze that engulfed Western Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries . If the entire population of a continent believed in witches, then it is unquestionable they do exist, or at least did exist, right? One logical way to accurately answer these questions is to examine books pertaining to the controversial subject of witches. The two books chosen for this investigation provide both a macro and a micro perspective on the European witch craze. Joseph Klaits Servants of Satan: The Age of Witch Hunts gives a general overview of the witch hunt craze of the sixteenth and seventeenth century. The more detailed book A Case of Witchcraft: The Trial of Urbain Grandier by Robert Rapley, on the other hand, describes a specific series

of events, which occur during the same time period. By comparing these two books, an understanding of the political, religious, and social attitudes of that era can be obtained. Thus, once this understanding is outlined then perhaps these witch related questions can be answered. In order to understand these books more clearly, the scene must be set for the impending investigation. Although the witch craze was a phenomenon that swept throughout all of Europe, the Western half of the continent proved to be the main theatre of events, probably due to its more populated urban centers. The focus of the study will consequently be of that particular region . The life of a European in the sixteenth and seventeenth century was difficult at best. That time period saw a constant struggle,

involving everything from great wars to minor disputes and boycotting, between two religious factions: the Catholics and the Protestants . At a time when the belief in God was constant, the devotion to religion strong and battle worthy, personal beliefs could prove to be dangerously life threatening. Along with these fanatical religious views, the European person also had to survive through food shortages, economic depression, famine, and a plague as destructive as the Black Death that decimated local populations wherever it went . Overall, life proved to be quite difficult for the average European and virtually impossible for the poor. Now that the backdrop has been established, I will demonstrate how these two books help to understand life of that era. By comparing the

arguments made in each book, the approaches and methods used by the historians, and the evidence used by each author, an understanding of the political, religious and social events of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries can be found. One the first steps in comparing the arguments presented in each book is to establish their respective main arguments. Focusing first on Klaits Servants of Satan, it was evident that the author s main goal was to explain the witch craze by highlighting and interpreting the political, social and intellectual dimensions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries . Secondly, the book by Robert Rapley A Case of Witchcraft, underlined how a specific individual, in this case a Catholic priest named Urbain Grandier, was convicted of witchcraft due to