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Essay title: Paranoia


Paranoia is the underlying factor of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Samuel Parris had a great terror of Satan arming his foes to destroy both him and his church. He was obsessed with any sinfulness that he saw.

Although it was not just Reverend Parris that had these beliefs. It was the paranoid society, which he was a member of. The Puritans were paranoid of being different. Conformity was a large part of their life because they were all driven into the same religion. Originality is a natural human characteristic that was stripped of their being. They believed that if they didn't do what society said was the right thing to do that they would be punished in the afterlife. Because of their geographical location, they could not choose what society they belonged to, whether they liked it or not. If they did try to leave, chances are they would die in the harsh New England wilderness. They also feared the natives of the area. This caused many people to grit their teeth and bear the Puritan ways. Also this was the only way of life these people knew. They had never been in an atmosphere that flourished in new ideas. Therefore, they never had beliefs of their own. They were limited in the choices they made. If it weren't for the underlying fears of being different than the Witch Trails of Salem would have never occurred.

Ironically the Puritans were victims of the very society that they traveled across the Atlantic to escape. The roots of evil were still implanted in them. The church was all that had changed, and it had changed for the worse. Bertrand Russell once said, "It doesn't matter what you believe as long as you don't believe it completly." Since the Puritans beliefs were absolute, it devastated

their society. There was no room for new ideas. New ideas would directly contradict their religion. That is why anybody that was different was considered a witch and consequently killed. They died because of mass paranoia. This paranoia is what drove the young girls into their hysterical state of mind.

Their society revolved around fear, a fear of god. They feared very much what god would do with them once their time one earth was at an end. They justified the entire unknown with their beliefs of god. If they had bad luck or encounters with natural disasters, they thought god was punishing them. Their beliefs were so strong that they would fill in the blank with what they thought they had done wrong. Therefore tunneling themselves into a very narrow way of living. As a result of their narrowly lead lives, hysteria had set in. They condoned science and its explanations. In their eyes, the hand of god directly caused everything.


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