Caryl Churchill was born September 3rd 1938 in London. She emigrated to the Canada when she was ten but decided to return to England to go to college. Chruchhill graduated Oxford with her B.A in English Litature. In 1976 she wrote a play titled Vinegar Tom. The play was written in the time of the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts. The theme of the play is centered around the power struggle between men and women at this time. Women were being seen as witches if they were different from society. For example, the character Ellen, she is a herbal healer that uses very strange ingredients and methods. Even tho she does do anything bad, even being a good witch is a bad thing to the society.
The fact that there were no men being accused as witches shows the reader who has the power in the story. When bad things happen, such as crops not growing, animals dying or people getting sick, someone needs to be blamed for it. Back then they did not have any idea about sicknesses or nature, so instead they blame someone that makes the most since. At the very end of the play, two of the characters are saying why women are witches,
Sprenger: Women are feebler in both body and mind so it’s not surprising
Kramer: In intellect they seem to be of a different nature from men…
Sprenger: She was formed from a bent rib…
Kramer:…and so is an imperfect animal.
Sprenger:Fe mina, female, that is fe faith minus without…
Kramer:…so cannot keep faith.
They go back and forth listing all the reasons why women are less the men; backing everything up with so called “evidence”. It is much easier for them to blame someone who cannot do anything about it then actually take responsibility for there actions. They even encourage the so called “evil” behavior. At the beginning of the play a man is trying to persuade a women to sleep with him again. It doesn’t matter either way if she does it or not because there are consequences on both ends.
At the end of the play there is a final song titled “Evil Women“. It is the response women have to all the accusations and blame they get placed upon them. They are saying that the men are the ones who are making the women seem so evil. This is the one time in the play where the women have a strong voice.
Is that what you want?
Is that what you want to see?
On the movie screen
Of your own wet dream