Medieval Torture Paper

Topics: Torture, Suffering, Pain Pages: 6 (1984 words) Published: March 24, 2013
People have these romantic notions that the medieval time period was full of knights in shining armor and fairytale princesses, when in all reality, the medieval time period was a bloodthirsty and violent time period. Government and religious officials used sadistic torture to punish suspects and obtain confessions. Torture is the deliberate and cruel infliction of mental and physical suffering to obtain information or for any other reason. ”The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear” ( Lovecraft). The tools and devices used brought extreme pain to the victim. This cruel infliction of mental and physical suffering was said to be done in the name of crime and its deserved punishment. It was also done as a means to intimidate a suspect or for revenge. The laws of this time period did not have any fixed rules for the treatment of prisoners or suspects. The different types of torture were used depending on the victim’s crime and social status. The government turned its back on these practices, which lead to the creation of gory torture chambers because of the misuse of freedom. In bigger cities like London, crime was more harshly enforced. A skilled torturer used instruments, methods and devices to prolong life as long as they could, while inflicting the most pain before they executed the victim. Many castles had torture chambers in the dungeon or in the tallest tower, where they can torture many victims at once. Medieval tortures had two types of devices. Devices they used to torture victims and devices they used to execute victims.

Torture chambers of the medieval time period are designed to scare the victims. These chambers are built underground or in the tallest tower of the castle. When the victim enters the chamber, there awaits the torturer wearing a black hood with their face covered. The entrance of these chambers were accessed through winding passages, which served the function of muffling the screams of the victims throughout the rest of the castle. The torture chambers are small, usually eleven feet by seven feet. Most of the chambers were dingy, vermin infested and dimly lit. Tortures could hold ten to twenty victims in the room at once and would never clean the blood or flesh, so victims would suffer from diseases and viruses.

Physical torture is the most common type of torture during the medieval time period. They created many types of torture devices that they would use on their victims to obtain confessions. Their method of torture depended on the victims crime and social class. "What strikes us most in considering the mediaeval tortures is not so much their diabolical barbarity … as the extraordinary variety, and what may be termed the artistic skill, they displayed. They represent a condition of thought in which men had pondered long and carefully on all the forms of suffering, had compared and combined the different kinds of torture, till they had become the most consummate masters of their art, had expended on the subject all the resources of the utmost ingenuity, and had pursued it with the ardour of a passion” (Parry). During this time period there were no laws that stated how prisoners or suspects should be treated, so people of this time period decided torture was the best. The government knew of these practices and turned their backs to them, which lead to the creation of gory torture devices. They created two different types of devices, ones they used for torture and ones they used for execution. These torture devices were feared among the people because they didn’t want to be the torturers next victims. Some of the most gruesome and feared devices that were created were the judas cradle, brazen bull, the wheel, the stake, the rack, pear of anguish, and the breast ripper.

The judas cradle was a terrible medieval torture device. The victims were placed on top of a pyramid-like seat. The victim was usually naked to increase the humiliation and had their feet tied together. The tip of...
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