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Punishment

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  • November 2012
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Kyle Gerber-Winn
Professor Ryan Stryffeller
English 102
23 October 2012
Analysis of Punishment
The concept of mob mentality is that one commits actions with a group of people because it is easier than going against the mob. This negative action repeats in history because people find it hard to stand up for what they think is right. Standing up for a cause against many is a daunting task, but with change the human race as a whole grows, and moves away from the negative issues it has. In Seamus Heaney's poem Punishment the speaker is observing a picture of a corpse, of a young lady, that was brutally executed for being an adulteress Throughout the poem we see the speaker relive her last moments, and we also see how the speaker would of acted as a witness. The adulteress in the poem is brutally punished for a crime that does not seem to fit her cruel punishment. The main theme of Heaney's Punishment is that one should stand up for what is right even if it goes against the grain, and is proven with elements such as speaker, tone, and symbolism. The speaker of the poem is a crucial aspect to help prove that it is hard to stand up for what right. The speakers shows the young woman empathy by saying, “I almost love you” (Heaney 29). This shows that the speaker of the poem feels pity for this girl. The speaker is showing that he has greater moral values than both the people punishing the woman and the people witnessing the event. We see that the speaker is putting himself in the shoes of the adulteress to further show his sympathy, “I can feel the tug/ of the halter at the nape” (Heaney 1,2). The speaker is now putting himself in place of the woman to experience how it was to be hung. He feels sorrow towards the woman because he sees what she had to go through. However moral the speaker seems to be later in the poem he states, “but would have cast, I know,/ the stones of silence.” (Heaney 30,31). This statement helps prove that even he, a sympathetic...

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