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WItchcraft inthe16+17thCenturies,and in Macbeth:+KIngJamesI

             The concept of witchcraft has existed since the tenth century. "Between the tenth and sixteenth centuries, anyone blamed for cannibalism and blood-practices (feasting with demons on human bodies) were called witches."" All witches would be charged with heresy burned at the stake by the Christian Church of the time. (http://members.aol.com/Skyelander/witch1.html).
             The peak of both witchcraft rituals and persecutions were in the 1500's and the 1600's. Nearly seven million people were subject to persecution, torture, and hanging in the name of eliminating witchcraft. (http://www.bridgewater.edu/~atrupe/ENG101/human1.htm) (http://www.tartans.com/articles/witchcrazemain.html) .
             Almost any hardship was marked as the work of a witch. Whether or not they were actually responsible, an accused witch would be tortured to admission. This made proven innocence on a charge of witchcraft a rarity in 16th and 17th century England. (http://members.aol.com/Skyelander/witch1.html).
             This mass persecution continued to gain momentum in England and France until Queen Elizabeth came to reign in 1558. She issued the Witchcraft Act of 1563, which ordered that death by hanging only be administered when witchcraft was practiced with the intent to murder. (http://members.tripod.com/~helenduncan/witchtrials.htm).
             However, it would not be until later in the 16th century that King James I would influence the witchcraft scene. .
             James I was born on June 19, 1566, in Edinburgh Castle, Scotland. The only son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her second husband, Lord Darnley, he was proclaimed king of Scotland in 1567 when his mother was forced to surrender the throne. "The boy king was little more than a puppet in the hands of political intriguers until 1581."" Despite his young age, he would need to assume the throne assertively in order to calm the conflict, which now consumed his land. (Encarta, James I (of England)) .
             At the time, Scotland was parted by internal conflict between the Roman Catholics and Protestants, and in dealings abroad by those supporting a coalition with France and those backing England.

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