Anguish Essay, Research Paper

? ? We went to the anguish room in a sort of solemn

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precession, the guards walking in front with lit tapers.

The chamber was belowground and dark, peculiarly near

the entryway. It was a huge shady topographic point and every device

and instrument of human anguish was at that place. They pointed

out some of them to me and said I should hold to savor

them. Then they asked me once more if I would squeal. ? I

can non. ? , I said. ? ? ( Abbott, 1 )

Those words were spoken by John Gerard, a Jesuit priest accused of distributing

Catholicity in England. And in 1597 he was captured, taken to the Tower of London

and? set to the question. ? Whatever the state, whatever the offense, one could see the

governments? quandary, when intuition, strong and sometimes reinforced by grounds,

would indicate to an person, who normally vehemently denied all accusals. Yet the

truth had to be determined. While in an age where societal conditions were viciously rough,

where epidemics of fatal diseases decimated the population and force was about a

manner of life, what more natural than to try to pull out a confession by utilizing force.

Anguish which is understood to be the torture and agony of the organic structure in order to arouse

the truth. It? s construct is based on two cardinal facts, foremost, that we all have

imaginativenesss. ( Abbott, 1-4 ) Anguish is a vile and perverse invasion of the rights and

self-respect of an person. It is a offense against humanity, for which there can be no

possible justification. ( Innes, 7 )

Anguish was used every bit early as the eleventh century, as grounds shows that William the

Conqueror ordered the maiming of felons, while Henry I ordained that those guilty of

forging the states currency, would be punished by holding their right manus

severed and so afterwards castrated. The human anatomy seems to hold been

expressly designed to be pierced. The human organic structure? s soft, giving flesh, with

vulnerable parts such as fingers and toes, ears and intrude? s, lodging out, positively

invited the attending of a torturer? s keen blade and sharpened spike. ( Abbott, 67 ) Since

the primary rule of anguish is to bring down hurting or, at the really least, to endanger hurting,

hence working the fright of it. Probably the most ill-famed instrument of anguish in

Medieval England was the rack. ( The Tower & # 8230 ; ..,2 ) It is believed that the rack was

introduced into England around 1420 by the Duke of Exeter, who was constable of the

Tower of London at the clip. ( Innes, 87-88 ) Although many fluctuations of the rack have

been used throughout the centuries, the basic rule has ever been the same. The

victims? custodies are secured by ropes to a beam at one terminal, and their organic structures bit by bit

stretched by ropes attached to their pess. At first, they resist the stretching, non merely with

the musculuss of their weaponries, and legs but besides with their abdominal musculuss. Then

all of a sudden, the musculuss of their limbs give manner, foremost in the weaponries and later in the

legs: the ligaments, and so the fibers of the musculuss themselves, are torn. Further

stretching ruptures the musculuss of the venters, and eventually torn from their sockets.

( Innes, 123 ) If they did non decease of their hurts, they were frequently so injured that they

could non take portion in their public confessions. ( Tower of & # 8230 ; .. , 2 )

Persuasion by agencies of pressing normally ended in decease, barely desirable in tribunal

instances where confessions and names of confederates were required. However in the 16th

and 17th centuries, a device was used which, while non jeopardizing life in any manner,

positively encouraged the victim to uncover everything he knew, whether true or

imagined. The instrument was known as the Boot. As it? s name implies, the boot was

designed to torment a captives legs and pess, and the device was so effectual that even

the early phases of it? s application caused hurts so rough that a headlong confession was

normally the consequence. the most common signifier of the boot required the victim to sit on a

bench, to which he was firmly tied. An unsloped board was so placed on either side of

each leg, splinting them from articulatio genus to ankle ; the boards were held together by ropes or

Fe rings within a frame. With the victims legs now immoveable, the anguish begun with

wooden cuneuss hammered between the two inner boards and so between the outer

boards and their surrounding frame, compacting and oppressing the trapped flesh.

( Abbott, 30-31 ) The anguish of the boot was described by those who witnessed it as it as

? the most terrible and barbarous hurting in the world. ? Indeed, as Bishop Burnet wrote: ? When

any are to be stuck in the boots, it is done in the presence of the council, and upon that

occurrence, about all offer to run off. The sight is so awful that, without an order

keeping such a figure to remain, the imperativeness would stay unused. ? ( Innes, 3 )

Anguish remained strong throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period,

nevertheless ; penalty by decease was get downing to go a really ill-famed signifier of

anguish. The ultimate torture, slow decease by firing at the interest, was practiced in

England for several centuries. The victim would be smeared with pitch, and so

dragged on a hurdle to the topographic point of executing. There the accused was made to stand on a

barrel of pitch surrounded by fagots, and chained to the interest. A snare was so placed

about the victims cervix, the rope ran through a block at the top of the interest and into the

executioner? s custodies. The fire was lit, and the rope was pulled, nevertheless ; sometimes the

fire would make the victim before the executioner? s had a opportunity to strangulate the accused.

Because of this the victim would endure experiencing their organic structure being burned from the exterior

in at least till the fires consumed their whole organic structure, which in some instances could take up

to an hr. ( Innes, 94 )

To be executed by holding one? s caput removed by cold steel was considered an

honest decease by the Norman? s, in every bit much in maintaining with one? s rank as being killed

in conflict by the battle-axe or the blade. This method of being punished for one? s offenses

was introduced into England by William the Conqueror in 1076. The instrument used

was the blade, and this type continued to be used for many old ages to come. ( Abbott,

191 ) In England the blade was shortly superseded by a arm which resembled the

battle-axe in name merely, for the? heading axe? was a petroleum and ill-balanced implement

little better than a heavy, unwieldly chopper. The gawky arm weighs seven lbs

15 ounces and putting to deaths, non with a clinical film editing action, but by oppressing it? s manner

through the vertebrae, non unlike a really blunt chisel. ( Beheadings, 3 ) To a dedicated

executioner, and even more to the victim prone in forepart of him, a chopped shooting had consequences

excessively hideous to contemplate, as James, Duke of Monmouth, found out to his cost in

1685. Jack Ketch, the public executioner could non after five shots sever the Duke? s

caput from his organic structure. Ketch had to take a knife, and break up the strip of tegument still

linking the caput to the trunk. After every beheading it was the executioner? s responsibility

to pick up the caput by the hair, take the blindfold if necessary, and expose it from

each corner of the scaffold, shouting, ? Behold the

caput of a treasonist! So die all treasonists! ?

( Abbott, 94 )

Stockss were possibly the most widely used punitory device, some besides being

utilised to procure wrongdoers expecting test. Portrayed in Anglo-Saxon books, Stockss were

in changeless usage for many centuries, altering small in design. They were of simple

building, dwelling of two hardy verticals fixed in the land, holding channels

down their interior surfaces in which were slotted two solid lumber boards, one above the

other. Each board had semicircular notches in it, positioned so that when aligned with

the other, the notches formed holes which encircled the perpetrators mortise joints. With the upper

board locked in place with a padlock, there was no flight for the victim until he or

she was released by the appointed functionary. ( Abbott, 149 ) Situated as they were in the

Centre of the small town, the unhappy resident of the stocks was necessarily the focal point of

attending. They became marks for shots and twits, if nil more deleterious, the

victims could make little to revenge, or even defend themselves. This of class was the

whole intent of the penalty, literally to do a laughing-stock of them by exposure

to the contempt and obloquy of the others in the community. ( Peters, 35 )

In an age when there was small or no amusement as we know it, and poorness

and disease made life cheap, an excution anyplace in the state was a recreation to

look forward to. A broad scope of discourtesies, from shoplifting to slay, carried the decease

punishment. In earlier yearss London boasted to hold the best hangings. The huge bulk of

the felons were hanged at Tyburn. Tyburn Fieldss originally consisted of 270 estates of

unsmooth land It is estimated that over 50,000 people died a violent decease at Tyburn. In

the early portion of the twelfth century the gallows, used for hanging, consisted simply of two

verticals and a trave, capable of suiting 10 victims at a clip. Once the

victim arrived, at Tyburn, the doomed work forces and adult females were forced to mount a ladder

and the rope about their cervixs was tied to the beam above. After a supplication or a address,

one by one they would be the ladder would be kicked out from under them so that they

swung in the empty air. ( Hanging, 4 ) In class the process was speeded up by the usage

of a Equus caballus and cart, one big plenty to transport a figure of captives together with

their caskets. The English linguistic communication was thereby enriched by such phrases as? in the cart?

and? gone west, ? the way of Tyburn from the two topographic points of imprisonment.

( Hanging, 1 ) Even though the procedure of hanging was speeded up, the effectivity was

brought down. Many times a victim didn? T dice by the snapping of the cervix, but by the

choking which was really torturing to the victim. ( Davis, 112 )

At a more domestic degree, and old ages off from barbarian spiritual courts and

anguish Chamberss, the Ducking stool it? s topographic point in the life of many small towns. ? Innocuous

as the words may sound, however its name sent trembles down the spinal columns of pecking

married womans, termagants, prostitutes, adulteresss and, seldom, dishonest shopkeepers. The device took

many signifiers, and was governed by make up one’s minding factors as whether the small town had a deep

river nearby, a boggy shriek with or with out a span, or merely a pool. ( Abbott, 116 )

In its simplest signifier, a chair or stool was fixed to one terminal of a long pole, which was

either pivoted on a support, or manhandled by a figure of people. Sometimes it was

mounted on a wheeled streetcar, when it was known as the tree pail. The victim was

strapped in the place, and so lowered into H2O, by and large a muddy or stinking pool.

The procedure could be repeated several times, until the victim, sputtering furiously ; was

about drowned and, on at least one juncture, the result was decease. ( Innes, 137-138 )

Such rural penalties gave rise to many a bawdy poetry. One, composed by Benjamin

West in 1780 read,

There stands, my friend, in yonder pool,

An engine call? d a ducking stool ;

By legal prisoner of war? R commanded down,

The joy and Panic or the town.

If jarring females kindle discord,

Give linguistic communication foul or tote the hairdo,

If noisy dolls should one time get down

To drive the house with horrid blare,

Away, you cry, you? ll grace the stool,

We? ll Teach you how your lingua to regulation.

The just wrongdoer fills the place

In dark gaudery, deeply great,

Down in the deep the stool descends,

But here at first we miss our terminals.

She mounts once more, and rages more

Than of all time vixen did before.

So throwing H2O on the fire

Will but do it fire the higher.

If so, my friend pray let her take

A 2nd bend into the lake ;

And, instead than your forbearance lose

Thrice, and once more reiterate the dosage

No brawling married womans, no ferocious dames,

No fire so hot H2O quenches. ( Abbott, 119-120 )

We are to understand that anguish is a reasonably usual portion of condemnable proceedings,

unless the suspect is a baronial whose alleged offense does non touch the safety of the province.

It is besides true that wise work forces have discouraged the pattern, which Pope Nicholas I did in

AD 866. When he wrote? A confession must be voluntary and non forced, by agencies of

anguish an guiltless adult male may avowal in such a instance what a offense for the justice! Or a

individual may be subdued by hurting, and acknowledge himself guilty, though he be guiltless

which throws an every bit great wickedness upon the court! ? ( Abbott, 166 ) The functionary

justification for anguish has ever been the demand to obtain information: from a condemnable

refering the extent of his offenses, and the names of his confederates ; from a captive

taken in war, who may hold cognition of his general? s purposes ; from misbeliever who

can be persuaded to squeal his beliefs and implicate others ; or from a terrorist whose

actions can jeopardize tonss possibly 100s of guiltless lives. Sadly, the application of

anguish in such cases in itself is inexcusable, has been over shadowed by the fact that

it is regarded besides as a penalty. The inevitable result is that the trade of torturer

has attracted merely the most sadistic of human existences, and that the usage of anguish has

moved off from any practical demand to obtain information, or enforce a legal punishment for

error, to let the more powerful to bask the pleasance of bring downing random hurting

upon the less fortunate. ( Innes, 7-9 ) Anyway you look at it anguish is merely a vile and

depraved invasion of the rights and self-respect of an person, a offense against humanity for

which there can be no possible justification.


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Peters, E. ( 1985 ) . Anguish ; expanded edition. Philadelphia: University of Pennsyvania


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