Exemplification Essay: The Salem Witch Trials

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The Salem Witch Trials exemplified a devastating time for the people of The Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1692. More than 200 men and women became accused of witchcraft, and 20 of them were put to death. All of this happened because of women known as the "afflicted children." These women, mostly under the age of 20, took the strict social hierarchy of that time and flipped it upside down. But for what? Love? Hatred? Confusion set as the lowest items on the totem pole of Massachusetts turned the world into a chaotic search for something that never existed: witches. But the question remains, what led the highest ranked people to believe and begin listening to the lowest ranked people? The Salem townspeople accused people of witchcraft because of fears stemming from the factors of peculiar behavior,…show more content…
It was a daily piece in their diet. In the late 1600s refrigerators did not exist, so maintaining the rye became difficult. This would often cause the rye to produce harmful mold. The mold, in turn, could have poisoned the young girls, giving them hallucinations similar to the effects of LSD today. Alan Bellows wrote an article on the theory of rye poisoning and explained, “The experience can escalate into spasms, convulsions, unconsciousness, hallucinations, and psychosis.” Such symptoms were all present in the “afflicted children” in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In the play, Abigail claimed to see a bird, “Why--? She gulps. Why do you come, yellow bird?” (Miller 204), and later she felt cold and faint, “A wind, a cold wind, has come” (Miller 194). These two hallucinations showed signs of the devil's presence, and gave the judges reasons to believe that a witch cursed Abigail and the other “afflicted children.” Thus far, rye poisoning and peculiar behavior illuminate the idea that the devil was among the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Rye poisoning attacked the brain, but the desire to survive literally attacked the

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