Test Your Understanding

The first picture shows a young woman in Salem, MA, on trial for being a witch.

Source: The Witch No. 1, Joseph E. Baker, Wikimedia Commons

Alt tag: The second picture is shows how women were examined to determine if they were witches or not during the Salem Witch Trials.

Source: “Examination of a Witch,” Thompkins H. Matteson, Wikimedia Commons

In Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, a play about the Salem Witch trials, the first several people accused of practicing witchcraft were people like Old Meg, but the people of Salem exhibited few signs of sympathy for them unlike the people of Gloucester. An article in Smithsonian magazine from April 1992 provides descriptions of four accused women. All were executed.

As the hysteria grew, more and more respectable people were arrested for practicing witchcraft. Some of the accusers were settling grudges or were after the land the accused owned. Twenty innocent people were hanged or tortured to death.

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