Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Kristin Bezio

Second Advisor

Dr. Lauren Henley

Third Advisor

Dr. Julietta Singh


Modern day beliefs about the Early Modern European witchcraft trials portray this time period as ignorant and superstitious, easily falling pretty to religious fervor. However, when looking at the primary source materials from the Elizabethan and Jacobean reigns one can see that beliefs on witchcraft were quite varied and complex. By using primary documents, as well as popular plays at the time that focus on malleus maleficarum (harmful magic) this thesis attempts to explore what witchcraft beliefs can reflect about the leadership performance styles of the monarchs Queen Elizabeth I and James I of England. Witchcraft was an intellectual battleground where individuals were able to challenge and maintain power dynamics, with the stakes being life or death. Plays from this period use witches as a tool to explore different political and societal issues in a manner that relate to the way we use witches in the modern day to perform and assert power.