Scoot Witchcraft Analysis

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The Discoverie of Witchcraft was a widely known, well-documented and courageous attack on witchcraft beliefs (Larner 1984:16). Such revolutionary claims led to opposition from English Protestants. King James argued Scot ‘maintains the old error of seduces in denying of spirits’ (Larner 1984:16). James Sharpe argued that Christianity reinforced values of the community and ideas of right and wrong (1996: 59). This suggests Scot’s rejection of traditional communal attitudes towards witchcraft, is also an attack on the church for the fuelling of the stereotype. Reginald Scot explores the common perceptions towards witches in the late sixteenth century, in which he claims they were commonly old, lame, full of wrinkles, poor (Scot 1584), although not necessarily…show more content…
Firstly, Scot claims a witch’s assurance of her power, sworn in front of a jury is deceiving when used alongside unreliable evidence. The witch’s confession of her curse or wish resulting in an effective outcome will prove satisfactory evidence for those unable to provide an external factor. For a jury, evidence such as this was more than enough to prove the powers of such women, for the logic to understand outside influences were lacking. The use of evidence from local witnesses were often of little truth, impossibilities, or hearsay (Rosen 1991: 51), therefore one could assume they were disregarded. However, judges who took examinations were often aquatinted with the complaints and believed implicitly those who were known to be honest or well thought of (Rosen 1991: 26). Rosen’s argument shows how witches existed outside the social circle of the local community; therefore a judge’s decision to choose the community, over a being, known to be aggressive and deceitful shows how English law chose to side against the

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