Free ‘the Notion Of Witchcraft Explains Unfortunate Events’ By Evans Pritchard Essay Example
Evans Pritchard spent a lot of his time investigating the meaning and the notion of witchcraft for the Azande or Zande people. The author is clearly trying to persuade us that the whole idea of witchcraft is not as ambiguous as it is usually treated. Zande people can analyze everything; they perceive the events just as clearly as we do. The difference is that they can link the natural cause of the event and why it happened, supply the missing link that we do not see and it is the witchcraft. In their perception witchcraft is the power that is making the unfortunate events take place. Witchcraft for Zande is the ‘umbaga’ or second spear - the second cause of any misfortune. They compare it to hunting – when two people are responsible for killing the beast, the same with witchcraft.
However, not only the witchcraft can be the reason for their misfortunes. For instance, breach of taboo. Sometimes for explaining certain situations they use common sense explanation, it is when you cannot just blame witchcraft for your lie or adultery for example. You are responsible to yourself. One's inexperience or bad workman shift can be the reason for a failure as well. Let us take for example a potter man whose creations broke: he believes that it was the witchcraft, as he did everything like he was supposed to, then why did it happen? The explanation is witchcraft, however, he might have himself attributed to this failure like having sexual relations the night before - he still will blame the witchcraft while others, will not share the same opinion. Witchcraft has its own rules, but natural causes are still taken into consideration. The peculiarity of witchcraft is that Zande people do not have a clear idea about it, just feelings; they do not know how it actually works. That is why it is hard to discuss witchcraft with them.