Penalty of Death

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The Penalty of Death

The death penalty is very much one of society’s necessary evils, one that can never be clear cut

or completely supported. Since the beginning of time, the words “an eye for an eye” have been taught

to us, most of us since childhood. One has to think, if that philosophy was good enough for God, it has to

be good enough for us all, right? Is that a fair statement in today’s society?

In writing this article, Mencken voiced his opinions on many aspects of the death penalty. In
covering ethos, pathos and logos, Mencken unfortunately did not do a great job applying ethos. The

definition of ethos is to be convincing, to be an authority and credible. I did not think the author did any

of these adequately enough. Considering the article was mostly opinion based, he did not prove himself

as an authority on the written topic. He did however do a much better job applying pathos. I feel he

used humor throughout the article to appeal to the readers emotions. His ability to actually use

humorous verbiage on such a “heavy” topic could actually play in his favor and perhaps sway a reader to

see his point of view. Again, I think the author failed to apply logos. There were no solid reasons given

throughout his argument, only his onions. If the author was hoping to convince a reader to agree with

his point of view, he should have or could have achieved this more effectively by using logos. Logos has

been viewed as Aristotle's favorite and could actually be the key point to winning any argument or

proving the intended point effectively.

Mencken chose to cover two hot points of the death penalty upfront. He discussed “frying and

gassing” (p 524) and also the “dreadful business” (p 524) of those having to be involved. His choice to

use the words, “frying and gassing “(p 524) was a bit risqué and on the edge. Mencken also goes on to

say that his point of the occupation being a dreadful...
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