Belief in the existence of witches has been a prominent part of Western culture for millennia; stereotypes about witches still exist in twenty-first-century America as witches star in books, television series, and movies. Over time, witches have lost their potency as a supernatural threat and been relegated to the benign realm of imagination. We will analyze ten witches from past periods – the Renaissance, Enlightenment, Gothic, and Romantic eras – additionally from modern culture – Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Hermione from Harry Potter (1997-2007) and Elsa from Frozen (2013) – to understand the transformation the stereotype of the witch has undergone. This analysis will suggest why witches possess certain attributes in modern culture and why such attributes are significant to understanding the portrayal of witches. This research is significant because stereotypes about witches influence children and social norms.
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