Professor F. Lewis
April 8, 2011
The Positive View on Capital Punishment
Capital punishment, also known as the "death penalty," is the pre-meditated and planned taking of a human life by a government in response to a crime committed by that legally convicted person (Dictionary Reference). The essay “A Hanging”, by George Orwell, is a harsh wake up call as to how cold and blind the human race can be. Orwell demonstrates his feelings against capital punishment and how horrible it is to take someone’s life. In the article, “Death Penalty is a Deterrent”, by George E. Pataki, Governor of New York State, in 1997, he states his view on capital punishment and why he’s for it. Capital punishment should exist still in the world because some prisoners deserve to die. Orwell’s story takes place in Burma, India. Orwell is a warder for a prison in Burma and he tells about his experience as he prepares to witness an execution. They all gather around the prisoner, six warders, and walk him out of his cell and toward the gallows. The prisoner goes calmly but is very afraid; his life was coming to an end, and there is nothing he could do to change that. As the prisoner makes his way to the gallows, Orwell watches him as he walks and notices that as he comes upon a puddle, he steps aside to avoid getting his feet dirty, even though he is about to be put to death. Orwell notes, “It is curious, but till that moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man” (para. 8). Orwell realizes that the prisoner is a human being with feelings and thoughts, whose life is about to be cut short. There are some defendants who have committed the ultimate punishment in our society by committing murder with aggravating circumstances. Yes, life is sacred. It cheapens the life of an innocent murder victim to say that society has no right to keep the murderer from ever killing again. However, society has not only the right, but the duty to...
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