Essay by MessiahUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2003

download word file, 7 pages 3.7

People living during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries continually experienced changes in their personal lives as well as in their societies. During the sixteenth century, people were affected by scholars such as Martin Luther and John Calvin. These scholars were instrumental in the developments of the Protestant Reformation, which pinned the traditional Catholic ideology against the arising Protestant ideology. In the seventeenth century, people witnessed the developments of the Scientific Revolution that was advanced by the scientific method proposed by Sir Frances Bacon and the heliocentric arguments of Galileo Galilei. However, only those who were apart of the literate upper class would have been affected by these developments. Since the majority of the lower class peasants were illiterate, it would have been rare if they were affected by the developments of the day. Instead, their world was consumed with much more pressing issues such as where to get enough food in order to survive.

Peasants had to live in rather dissolute conditions that affected every aspect of their lives. Regardless if they lived in Scotland, England, or on the European continent, peasants had a rough life and a hard time adjusting to the many changes. Therefore, in the following essay, an interesting interpretation of the readings from, The Witches of Huntingdon, Their Examinations, and Confessions, will be set forth. Although witchcraft was a factor throughout Europe, England, and Scotland, this essay will only focus on those occurrences in England during 1646.

In England, witches were divided into two different categories: beneficent and malevolent. Witches who were classified as being beneficent were those who helped, "fellow villagers by foretelling the future, trying to locate buried treasure, and mixing love potions." On the other hand, malevolent witches were those who used, "curses and magic to cause illness, injury, or death"...