26 July 2012
Everyone has different thoughts on punishments for different crimes. There are currently thirty-three states that support the death penalty (Deathpeanltyinfo.org 1). Over the passing years punishment for crimes has gone soft. Whenever the words “death penalty” are said it raises such debate whether or not it is right or wrong. An eye for an eye my father told me when I was growing up. For that to be true in todays society we need the death penalty and much more. Today our “eye for an eye” system is weak. Seventeen states believe if a murder happens that person who does the crime does not need to be put to death (Death Penalty Information Center 1). In the poem “Punishment” by Seamus Heaney, it is about an execution for a crime of adultery, which would be a correct punishment for that crime in that time period. “When the Puritans came to this land, they left a country where the English treated adultery as largely a civil and personal matter. The Puritans wanted to create a society where moral dictates were enforced by harsh corporal punishments” (Turley 1). The Puritans had it right, they believed that there needs to be consequences for all crimes petty or not. An issue that has continually created tension in today's society is whether the death penalty serves as a justified and valid form of punishment. The death penalty can be the only way to justify a crime especially adultery.
In the poem “Punishmentm,” Heaney paints a vivid picture of a dead girls corpse tortured and hung for punishment of a crime of adultery. Heaney uses great detail as if you were the one to find the corpse. “It blows her nipples / to amber beads, / it shakes the frail rigging / of her ribs” (lines 5-8). He goes on to explain the punishment that this girl indoored for her crime. It is a fitting crime for what she did. When it is thought about this girl ruined a life of another persons, a family’s life. “Her shaved head / like a stubble of black corn” (17-18). She deserved the embarrassment to be found naked. “Body in the bog” (9). Bog meaning like an unnourished vegetable, she has been on display for so long she as become rotten just as she is on the inside when she did her crime of adultery. “To store / the memories of love. / little adulteress, / before they punished you” (21-24). The love she was after punished her; she should of found love somewhere else then with a married man. Even Heaney seems to be getting some type of pleasure from his own writing. “I am the artful voyeur” (33). Heaney agrees with the scene of her punishment by using the word voyeur, he gets excited to see it, to imagine it. Society does not need to get excited about putting someone to death but society should be excited to punish someone for adultery by putting him or her to death.
The death penalty persuasion in America has change dramatically overtimes, it is gaining support. The opinion of the death penalty in America is split. “Public opinion on the death penalty in America over the past fifty years has vacillated. Support decreased through the 1950s and until 1966, when only forty-seven percent of the American public voiced support; since 1982 about three quarters of the population favored capital punishment” (Radelet 44). As time goes on more and more people see that the only way to deal with punishments for certain crimes in execution or the death penalty. “We must punish offenders to discourage others from committing similar offenses; we punish past offenders to send a message to potential offenders” (Radelet 44). There is great wisdom behind that quote. Strike fear into the offenders to prevent further corruption of adultery. There may be a down side to the death penalty that most can admit, that innocent defendants will occasionally be executed (Radelet 50). Not to say that in the thirty-three states that have the death penalty that some were innocent while being put to death. It makes no...
Cited: Hymowitz, Kay S. “The National Adultery Ritual.” Commentary 132.1 (2011): 40-44. Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 July 2012.
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