Abigail Williams (Salem witch trials): Difference between revisions

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Abigail was born on July 12, 1680. She and her cousin [[Betty Parris]] were the two first accusers in the Salem Witch trials of 1692. Williams was 11 (raised to 17 in ''The Crucible'') years old at the time and she was living with her uncle [[Samuel Parris]] in Salem. According to Rev. Deodat Lawson, an eyewitness, she and Betty began to have fits in which they ran around rooms flailing their arms, ducking under chairs and trying to climb up the chimney.
 
Abigail was born on July 12, 1680. She and her cousin [[Betty Parris]] were the two first accusers in the Salem Witch trials of 1692. Williams was 11 (raised to 17 in ''The Crucible'') years old at the time and she was living with her uncle [[Samuel Parris]] in Salem. According to Rev. Deodat Lawson, an eyewitness, she and Betty began to have fits in which they ran around rooms flailing their arms, ducking under chairs and trying to climb up the chimney.
   
Many claim that the girls, later followed by several other pre-teen and teenage girls in Salem, were just inventing the afflictions to draw attention to themselves and to avoid punishment by pretending to be "ill". This issue, however, still troubled the villagers of [[Salem, Massachusetts|Salem]]. The local minister, Samuel Parris, decided to call in a doctor to determine whether or not these afflictions were medical. The physician, [[William Griggs]], had difficulties understanding the actions of the two young girls. Griggs believed it was not a medical issue, rather, he suggested it must be witchcraft. One of Parris’ slaves, [[Tituba]], was then asked to bake a ''witch cake''— rye mixed with the afflicted girls’ urine— and feed the mixture to a dog. The theory was that if Abigail and Betty were bewitched, the dog would exhibit similar symptoms and prove that witchcraft was indeed present and being practiced. <ref>Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, ''Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft''. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974. Print. (pp. 2-3).</ref> Another reason may have been food poisoning: the girls may have eaten a "Witch's Stew" as part of their games that may have contained inedible or uncooked ingredients. In 1976, [[Linnda R. Caporael]]<ref>[http://www.rpi.edu/~caporl/home/Notes_files/Satan%20Loosed.pdf Ergotism: The Satan Loosed in Salem?] - ''Science'', vol. 192, April 1976</ref> put forward the theory that these strange symptoms may have been caused by [[ergotism]], the ingestion of fungus-infected rye.
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Many claim that the girls have sucked the reverands cock so much, later followed by several other pre-teen and teenage girls in Salem, were just inventing the afflictions to draw attention to themselves and to avoid punishment by pretending to be "ill". This issue, however, still troubled the villagers of [[Salem, Massachusetts|Salem]]. The local minister, Samuel Parris, decided to call in a doctor to determine whether or not these afflictions were medical. The physician, [[William Griggs]], had difficulties understanding the actions of the two young girls. Griggs believed it was not a medical issue, rather, he suggested it must be witchcraft. One of Parris’ slaves, [[Tituba]], was then asked to bake a ''witch cake''— rye mixed with the afflicted girls’ urine— and feed the mixture to a dog. The theory was that if Abigail and Betty were bewitched, the dog would exhibit similar symptoms and prove that witchcraft was indeed present and being practiced. <ref>Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, ''Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft''. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974. Print. (pp. 2-3).</ref> Another reason may have been food poisoning: the girls may have eaten a "Witch's Stew" as part of their games that may have contained inedible or uncooked ingredients. In 1976, [[Linnda R. Caporael]]<ref>[http://www.rpi.edu/~caporl/home/Notes_files/Satan%20Loosed.pdf Ergotism: The Satan Loosed in Salem?] - ''Science'', vol. 192, April 1976</ref> put forward the theory that these strange symptoms may have been caused by [[ergotism]], the ingestion of fungus-infected rye.
   
 
Because of Abigail and Betty's claims to be possessed, false accusations would soon be made, causing 20 unnecessary deaths . On February 29th, 1692, three women were arrested for suspicion of witchcraft: [[Sarah Good]], [[Sarah Osborne]] and Tituba herself. <ref>Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, ''Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft''. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974. Print. (p. 3).</ref> They were all found guilty, but the only one to confess was Tituba. Since the other two women did not confess, Good was hanged, and Osborne died in prison. Tituba was luckily released out of jail a year later, when an unknown person paid her fees for release. <ref>Games, Alison. ''Witchcraft in Early North America''. Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2010. Print. (p. 176).</ref> Nonetheless, Abigail and Betty’s trend of accusing innocents rapidly spread throughout Salem and nearby villages (especially [[Andover, Massachusetts|Andover]]), leading to the death of several innocent people. <ref>Hall, David. ''Witch Hunting in Seventeenth Century New England''. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1999. Print. (pp. 280-281).</ref>Two dogs were also hanged, and one man (Giles Corey) was pressed with large stones until he died. Some significant people who were executed include: [[John Proctor]], [[Martha Corey]], [[Giles Corey]], and [[Rebecca Nurse]].
 
Because of Abigail and Betty's claims to be possessed, false accusations would soon be made, causing 20 unnecessary deaths . On February 29th, 1692, three women were arrested for suspicion of witchcraft: [[Sarah Good]], [[Sarah Osborne]] and Tituba herself. <ref>Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, ''Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft''. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974. Print. (p. 3).</ref> They were all found guilty, but the only one to confess was Tituba. Since the other two women did not confess, Good was hanged, and Osborne died in prison. Tituba was luckily released out of jail a year later, when an unknown person paid her fees for release. <ref>Games, Alison. ''Witchcraft in Early North America''. Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2010. Print. (p. 176).</ref> Nonetheless, Abigail and Betty’s trend of accusing innocents rapidly spread throughout Salem and nearby villages (especially [[Andover, Massachusetts|Andover]]), leading to the death of several innocent people. <ref>Hall, David. ''Witch Hunting in Seventeenth Century New England''. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1999. Print. (pp. 280-281).</ref>Two dogs were also hanged, and one man (Giles Corey) was pressed with large stones until he died. Some significant people who were executed include: [[John Proctor]], [[Martha Corey]], [[Giles Corey]], and [[Rebecca Nurse]].

Revision as of 14:12, 26 October 2011

Abigail Williams (July 12, 1680 – UNKNOWN) was one of the initial accusers in the Salem witch trials of 1692, which led to the arrest and imprisonment of over 150 innocent people.

Salem Witch trials

Abigail was born on July 12, 1680. She and her cousin Betty Parris were the two first accusers in the Salem Witch trials of 1692. Williams was 11 (raised to 17 in The Crucible) years old at the time and she was living with her uncle Samuel Parris in Salem. According to Rev. Deodat Lawson, an eyewitness, she and Betty began to have fits in which they ran around rooms flailing their arms, ducking under chairs and trying to climb up the chimney.

Many claim that the girls have sucked the reverands cock so much, later followed by several other pre-teen and teenage girls in Salem, were just inventing the afflictions to draw attention to themselves and to avoid punishment by pretending to be "ill". This issue, however, still troubled the villagers of Salem. The local minister, Samuel Parris, decided to call in a doctor to determine whether or not these afflictions were medical. The physician, William Griggs, had difficulties understanding the actions of the two young girls. Griggs believed it was not a medical issue, rather, he suggested it must be witchcraft. One of Parris’ slaves, Tituba, was then asked to bake a witch cake— rye mixed with the afflicted girls’ urine— and feed the mixture to a dog. The theory was that if Abigail and Betty were bewitched, the dog would exhibit similar symptoms and prove that witchcraft was indeed present and being practiced. [1] Another reason may have been food poisoning: the girls may have eaten a "Witch's Stew" as part of their games that may have contained inedible or uncooked ingredients. In 1976, Linnda R. Caporael[2] put forward the theory that these strange symptoms may have been caused by ergotism, the ingestion of fungus-infected rye.

Because of Abigail and Betty's claims to be possessed, false accusations would soon be made, causing 20 unnecessary deaths . On February 29th, 1692, three women were arrested for suspicion of witchcraft: Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba herself. [3] They were all found guilty, but the only one to confess was Tituba. Since the other two women did not confess, Good was hanged, and Osborne died in prison. Tituba was luckily released out of jail a year later, when an unknown person paid her fees for release. [4] Nonetheless, Abigail and Betty’s trend of accusing innocents rapidly spread throughout Salem and nearby villages (especially Andover), leading to the death of several innocent people. [5]Two dogs were also hanged, and one man (Giles Corey) was pressed with large stones until he died. Some significant people who were executed include: John Proctor, Martha Corey, Giles Corey, and Rebecca Nurse.

As the witch trials were coming to an end, Abigail ran away from Salem. It is not certain what happened to her, but rumor has it that she fled to a city somewhere along the east coast and resorted to prostitution for survival. One reference stated that she "apparently died before the end of 1697, if not sooner, no older than seventeen. "[6]

Appearances in fiction

File:Abigail Williams.png
Nicole Ehinger portraying Abigail Williams in the 2010 film, 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice'.

In Arthur Miller's play The Crucible, Abigail is a girl of seventeen, and the main antagonist. At the beginning of the play, it is gradually revealed that she had been dancing in the woods with the girls of Salem and performing voodoo rituals with her uncle's slave, Tituba, all the girls making wishes for men in the town to marry them. When rumors began to circulate that the girls were performing witchcraft, Abigail and Betty Parris began to name people as having been s portrayed by Mylène Demongeot and Winona Ryder, respectively.

Abigail is also in the 2010 film The Sorcerer's Apprentice as a minor antagonist. Horvath, the film's main antagonist, releases her from a magical prison called "The Grimhold" and uses her to kidnap the love interest of the main protagonist Dave. After the kidnapping is complete Horvath absorbs Abigail's powers and steals her pentagram amulet which channels her power. By doing so Horvath becomes more powerful and is finally able to free his master, Morgana.

Arthur Miller's play, 'The Crucible', also gave Arizona-based Black Metal band, Abigail Williams the inspiration for their name.[citation needed]

Metalcore band Motionless In White named their song "Abigail" after the story of Abigail and the Witch Trials. Motionless In White also made a music video of the song "Abigail."

References

  1. ^ Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974. Print. (pp. 2-3).
  2. ^ Ergotism: The Satan Loosed in Salem? - Science, vol. 192, April 1976
  3. ^ Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974. Print. (p. 3).
  4. ^ Games, Alison. Witchcraft in Early North America. Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2010. Print. (p. 176).
  5. ^ Hall, David. Witch Hunting in Seventeenth Century New England. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1999. Print. (pp. 280-281).
  6. ^ Roach, Marilynne K. 2002. The Salem Witch Trials: a Day-to-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege. Cooper Square Press. Page 518.

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