Every Woman a Witch: A Practical Exploration of Representations of the Transgressive Powerful Female in Historical Accounts of the 16th and 17th Centuries Witch trials and Modern Feminist Theories Through Writing a One-Act Play In Contemporary Setting
(2014) Every Woman a Witch: A Practical Exploration of Representations of the Transgressive Powerful Female in Historical Accounts of the 16th and 17th Centuries Witch trials and Modern Feminist Theories Through Writing a One-Act Play In Contemporary Setting, no. 31.
This study aims to show that women are still persecuted for transgressing expected social norms through exploring representations of women through the writing of a one act play. Throughout history women have been persecuted for stepping out of the confines of social tradition, no more so than during the time of the witch trials. Much has changed in the 400 years since the time of burnings, hangings, and drownings of alleged witches. However women now face new forms of persecution from their peers, a persecution which takes a much more internal toll. These issues take the form of modern expectations on body image, sexuality, and motherhood. The issues that have been left in the wake of the 1960s feminist movement are largely ignored by mainstream consciousness, having achieved voting and working rights focus and motivation has moved away from the movement. These modern issues need to be addressed and this study uses the medium of a new play, to open a discussion on these issues and make people consider how women are treated in the 21st century. These modern problems are developed throughout the play in a way that echoes the development of witch accusations. Creating reflections with the witch trials shows the topics in a harsher light and generates stronger emotional responses in the audience through connections to inherent images and understandings of that time. Feedback was gathered after a rehearsed reading, through questionnaires and interviews on the successfulness of addressing these issues. This feedback illustrates that persecution is still felt by women in the 21st century.