2 February 2012
The Guillotine: You Can’t Miss
Killing has become easier and quicker to accomplish than ever with the invention of the Guillotine. A guillotine is a machine used for a quick death. It has a large wooden base with a hole for a person’s neck. A large blade is raised above the base and the dropped. It beheads the victim and they die instantly. This machine was used frequently in The French Revolution. In the novel, “Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens, this killing machine is compared to a female named La Guillotine. This is shown throughout the novel. The Guillotine has been around for quite a long time. “Inventors were devising beheading machines at least as early as 1300”(Lienhard “On the top of the gallows is fixed the knife, blade upwards, with its point in the air”(Dickens).”On one side of the scaffold were drawn out a sufficient number of carts with large baskets painted red, to receive the heads and bodies of the victims. Those bearing the condemned moved on slowly to the foot of the guillotine”(Millingen). Their heads were placed in the hole in the base of the guillotine. “The weighty knife was then dropped with a heavy fall; and, with incredible dexterity and rapidity, two executioners tossed the body into the basket, while another threw the head after it”(Millingen).
The Guillotine was used as a more “humane” way of killing in the 1700’s and 1800’s. At first, it was mainly used for the higher class. William the Conqueror brought the guillotine back to England, where it was set aside for nobility (Lienhard). Some of the nobility that were beheaded included people [like Lady Jane and Anne Boleyn](Lienhard). The lower classes were only beheaded when it was to finish off a victim who has already been tormented and tortured (Guillotin/Guillotine). Sometimes, the axe-men were horribly inaccurate, so the victims paid them a gold coin in exchange for a clean cut( Guillotin/Guillotine). Joseph...