There are countless numbers of interpretations being proposed on major historical events. One of the most fascinating topics is the well-known Salem Witch Trials. By studying and analyzing different explanations, this essay attempts to answer why women accused one another during the witch trials, and also why people were accused. This is crucial to know because women of the seventeenth century were under social and religious pressure that left women in a vulnerable position, which consequently led to a search for power, sense of their own potency, and social reward.1.
Many people have suggested multiple explanations by taking considering external factors. One of them is the idea that afflicted women, the accusers, were victims of the Indian War experience and suffered from what is called today, post-traumatic disorder (PTSD).2 However, this fails to explain why those who were not as close as the Salem villagers were to the war zone showed the same symptoms. In addition, the afflicted were young women who made accusations pointing their fingers at other women. Therefore, it is true that there was political and social tension due to the Indian War, but this still leaves a gap between cause and effect, because, how can PTDS explain the fact that men composed only one quarter of the accused victims? By the end of the trial during 1692-93, the number of accused people of practicing witchcraft was 56 men and 148 women. Moreover, half those men were not directly accused but were found guilty by association.3 Having said, pathological explanations, such as the idea encephalitis, also fail to elaborate on the sex-biased ratio.4 Therefore, there are a few facts that one must take into consideration with respect to the seventeenth century Salem Village. One of the most important points is the religion in the Essex County: Puritanism. The Puritan norm had a central male figure, and so it restricted women from having equal rights.