Teen Angst And Patriarchal Oppression
When examining who exactly was accused of witchcraft, there are a number of demographic discrepancies which have hinted at the possibility of ulterior motivations.
In his book Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the culture of Early New England, John Putnam theorizes that the witch trials were essentially a teenage rebellion against the authority of their elderly parents, as most the accusers were teenagers and most of the accused adults.
Feminist historians have interpreted the trials as just another means of the patriarchy to persecute women who acted in ways contrary to the accepted social norms of the time. In Salem, as is the case in most witch trials, women were the primary targets of accusation and particularly women who did not prescribe to the social norms of the time.
While the exact cause of the Salem witch trials remains contested there were certainly underlying themes at play.