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Salem Witch Trials

Elizabeth Parris: The Afflicted

Bridget Bishop: Witch or Widow
Elizabeth Parris: The Afflicted
Judgement of the Accused
Judgement of the Afflicted
The Cause of Hysteria: Three Girls in Salem

The Accused Report

Elizabeth “Betty” Parris


            Elizabeth, sometimes referred to as Betty, Parris was only nine when the witchcraft epidemic broke out in Salem.  Elizabeth was often referred to as a sweet young girl.  She grew up in a period where the economy was very uncertain of where it would go next, and ,just to add to the suspicion of her involvement in the witch trials, she had hard times accepting her father’s, Reverend Parris’, sermons about predestination and damnation.  Due to her economic uncertainties, Elizabeth was interested in seeing where she would be in years to come.  This curiosity sparked her and her cousin, Abigail Williams, to take part in the use of a “venus glass”, as device used to tell the future from shapes.  Out of this act many other young girls, all interested in their future social status and that of their husbands’, caused the outbreak of witchcraft in Salem.

            Some months later Elizabeth’s affliction was started when she began to forget errands and seemed to be uninterested in what others had to say or do; on the contrary she was very preoccupied in personal sessions, unknown to others in the town.  In church she was out of control and seemed outraged whenever and reference to God, The Holy Spirit, or Jesus was made.  Often she embarked on tantrums, screaming in a seemingly foreign tongue.

            To sum up the affliction trial of Elizabeth “Betty” Parris, she was a nine year old girl who was interested in what she would become and also somewhat disturbed by her fathers sermons of predestination.  The sermons of course only added to her motives to see the future.  As for reasons to lie about her having contact with the devil I personally don’t believe that she had a choice to lie about it, the signs were apparently extremely visible.

            I believe that Elizabeth should be charged as innocent to the crime of witchcraft.  This is because she had no intentions to contact the Devil nor even an idea that her actions would have any relation with the Devil.  Given the plea of innocence and her only intentions being to see the future and not to conjure the Devil, Elizabeth is not guilty of witchcraft.

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