Vanke Meisha Academy, Shenzhen, Guangdong 518000, China
Many women were targeted by the juridical system for practising witchcraft in the late Middle Ages, but their motivation and interest in practising witchcraft haven’t been widely analyzed. Thus, the analysis generally focuses on the social context of late medieval women that make them more interested in witchcraft by analyzing the social roles given and feminine consciousness in the practice of heresy. This work proposes two questions: How does witchcraft reflect women’s roles and social expectations in medieval society? Did the practice of heresy arouse feminine consciousness in the Middle Ages? This work chooses The Hammer of Witches by the 15th-century Dominican friars Jacob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer as primary sources to analyze and found that hatred and loss of possession are the main motivations for women to involve with witchcraft. These motivations reflect women’s dissatisfaction and the restriction of being a housewife. There are different opinions toward the feminine consciousness in the practice of heresy. It is found that the practice of heresy helps women exert their great influence on their family and community by sharing their heresy, which is a part of the indication of feminine consciousness. But contrary opinions suggest that women’s act in heresy didn’t derive from their self-willingness, and instead their behaviours are generally from the devil’s intention.
Witchcraft, Women, Late middle ages
Xin Fu. The Choice between Norm and Freedom: Women and Witchcraft in the Late Middle Ages. International Journal of New Developments in Engineering and Society (2021) Vol.5, Issue 1: 64-66. https://doi.org/10.25236/IJNDES.2021.050114.
 Tanaaz. “The Rise of Feminine Consciousness.” Forever Conscious, January 26 January 26 2018
 Institoris, Heinrich, Jakob Sprenger, Christopher S. Mackay, Henricus Institoris, and Jacobus Sprenger. Malleus Maleficarum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
 Ward, Jennifer Clare. Women in Medieval Europe: 1200-1500. London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2016.
 “Consolamentum.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, September 9, 2019.