What is a Death Eater?
I would like to think that everyone in this class has some sort of idea of what a Death Eater was. I saw was, in the past tense, since there are currently no known witches or wizards actively practicing being a Death Eater, that we know of. The Death Eaters were a group of magical wizards (both male and female) who were pure-blood supremacists. Before the name Death Eaters became permanent, the group was called The Knights of Walpurgis. Personally I think Death Eaters jas a better ring to it, don't you? They took orders from Lord Voldemort and practiced the Dark Arts with no fear for wizarding laws. Lord Voldemort used this group of people to fight in both the First and Second Wizarding War for him. They were often sent on missions for the Dark Lord in which failing was not an option.
The first members of the group were hand selected By Tom Riddle back when he was attended Hogwarts; mostly all recruited were from the House of Slytherin. Members had to be willing to follow their leader with the plan to eventually overturn the Ministry of Magic and rule the wizarding way the way they felt it should run.
After graduation Tom Riddle changed his name to Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters became more active in their attacks against muggles, witches, and wizards. Death Eaters committed crimes that weren't always under the orders of the Dark Lord. As the years went on with the reign of Voldemort, the attacks became more severe and were turned on more prominent wizarding families. Due to these attacks, fear in the community grew.
There were certain ways one could tell who was a Death Eater thoguh. Voldemort required his followers to have the Dark Mark burned into their left forearm, so he could call them anytime he needed them. They were expected to apparate in his presence within a timing matter as well. The Dark Mark was a picture of a snake intertwined with itself topped with a skull. The members even had costumes, most members wore black hoods with snake-like eye-slits to cover their faces.
When the Death Eater, Severus Snape reported to the Dark Lord information regarding the prophecy, Voldemort decided to attack the Potters personally. Unbeknown to the Potters, they trusted a Death Eater, Peter Pettigrew, to be their secret keeper, which gave Voldemort the edge in his attack. We all know how that attacked ended, with The Boy Who Lived orphaned and the Dark Lord’s souls escaped into the unknown.
Once word was out that the Dark Lord had fallen, chaos ensued and many Death Eaters were found by Aurors and sent to Azkaban prison. Others retreated into everyday life trying to prove they were productive members of society and dismissed rumors that they were ever involved with the Dark Lord.