This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Death By Instability Essay

1121 words - 5 pages

On the definition of the criminally insane, the M'naghten rules were the common method of testing used to determine insanity. These rules were established in Britain after the 1843 case of Daniel M’naghten, in which he murdered the prime minister’s secretary in an attempt to murder the prime minister himself, Edward Drummond. The M’naghten rules provide a general set of questions in discerning the defendant’s sanity, and are: “was the defendant aware of what they were doing?” and, if answered yes, “do they realize that what they committed was unjust?” However, these rules concern, more so, the physical quality rather than the moral quality of the act. In many instances, patients may acknowledge their crime as nefarious, but remain apathetic. In posing a challenge to the M’naghten rules, the Durham rules, constructed in Durham v. U.S., recognize the moral aspect in regards to the crime. They proposed that as long as it can be proven that the defendant committed the act as a cause of mental disease/defect, they are not criminally responsible. This is what should have been the case in the trial of Perry Smith. For Perry Smith’s mental instability should have provided a substantial amount of justification for the attenuation of the charges he faced. However, due to the use of the the M’naghten rules in his trial, Perry Smith was held fully responsible, criminally and mentally, and sentenced to execution by hanging.
Perry Smith detailed his life, in writing an autobiographical statement to Dr. Jones, his psychiatrist (Capote 273). In this statement, Perry speaks of many events in his life that certainly contributed to his later demise. This encompassed: beatings from his father, a divorce, an alcoholic mother, detention houses, severe beatings from a cottage mistress, and frequent crime sprees. To say that these events are commonplace among children, in any era, is madness. These are events that happen amid an unfortunate select few and are the cause of many psychological consequences. Children put into these situations usually experience feelings of isolation, distrust, anger, and fear. It has also been shown that children who underwent neglect and abuse were nine times more likely to be involved in criminal activities. This is definitely the contributing factor in Perry’s act of murder. Had Perry not lived in such a detrimental childhood and adolescent situation he would not have had such extreme feelings of loneliness and the desire to seek vengeance upon the people who had wronged him. Although the Clutter’s had never harmed him, Perry had attributed their murder as being done because they were “‘the ones who had to pay for it’” (290), in reference to everyone who had wronged him.
With all these events having occurred in Perry’s life, it is no wonder he sought out crime and isolation. Perry felt he could not trust anyone who showed him companionship, due to the thought that they would attempt to harm him. This pushed him away from...

Find Another Essay On Death by Instability

In what ways and to what extent did social and religious divisions lead to war in Spain in 1936?

1123 words - 4 pages thing which benefited CEDA members, however, by the end of 1933 12% of Spain's workforce was unemployed. CEDA then withdrew its supports and in October of the following year socialists, anarchists and workers called for an uprising against the government in the "Asturias Rising". As a result there was increased repression, this increased the political instability and served to reinforce the strong divisions between the left and the right.In 1935

Life in England and France in the 14th century was full of unrest and uncertainty. The effects of war, disease (bubonic plague) and famine led to huge deaths in Europe

1186 words - 5 pages Europe, and many felt that the plague was simply caused by an angry God.The late Middle Ages was a trying time in European history. England and France experienced much instability and unsteadiness. In one lifetime citizens saw war, famine, and disease. War inflicted untold misery on the land. The Bubonic Plague showed no mercy. Famine led to mass starvation and disease. Even structures that used to be stable, such as the Church, were under question. Economically, politically, socially, and religiously the populace was unclear as to the next action. Life was rough and short, with death inevitable. The lack of advances in agriculture and science made people even more vulnerable.

Instable Families in House of Usher, The Yellow Wallpaper, and The Dead  

1415 words - 6 pages beginning set of the story, an old friend of Roderick's, the narrator, has visited him after many years. This occasion seemed satisfying on the surface when Roderick pleasurably greets the narrator at the door. Almost immediately, the narrator senses the "tokens of instability" as he closely analyzes Roderick. Roderick, at first, seems to be in denial of his manic depression; he attempts to uphold the family tradition by living in the decaying

To Be Or Not To Be Insane

733 words - 3 pages Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, Hamlet, is a story of madmen and murders. The problems begin when Hamlet sees his deceased father as a restless ghost. His father’s ghost explains to Hamlet that he must avenge his death at the hands of his brother, the current king, Claudius. Hamlet realizes he must feign mental instability while foraging for acknowledgment of guilt from his uncle, Claudius. Though Hamlet does avenge his father's death, as the

The Life and Writings of Edgar Allen Poe

978 words - 4 pages life. Poe was born in January 19, 1809 in Boston Massachusetts. His mother, Elizabeth Arnold Poe, was a well known American actress. When Poe was 2 years old his mother died (Edgar Allan Poe). So Poe witnessed death at a very young age. After his mother died Poe was taken in by his godfather, John Allan, with his childless wife. Soon after he was taken to Scotland and England (1815-1820) where he learned classical education, this was continued in

Sociology of Death and Dying

2429 words - 10 pages De Spelder and Strickland (1983) say that the understanding of death is communicated through the process of socialization by which children learn the concepts and conversations that have value in modern society (p.64). Geoffrey Goer believes that there is evidence to suggest that death has become a taboo and has replaced sex as the unspoken subject of today’s society. Goer says children “are initiated in their early years to love (the concept

Somalia Struggle for Power

1840 words - 8 pages actors who later abandoned Somalia due to a shift in foreign policy and interest. This paper will prove that the power for struggle in Somalia is the root cause of instability in Somalia and throughout the Horn of Africa. This will be explored by examining Somali’s regional relations, U.S and al-Shabaab’s involvement in Somalia and assessing past and present facts, assumptions and the implications of their actions towards U.S. interests. Somali Never

The Complexity of Holden Caulfield

676 words - 3 pages introduces the American literature as a story. By the end of the novel the reader can assume he is revisiting the events from a mental institution or rehabilitation center. The overall effect of the recent events had led to his mental instability. It has been argued that Holden already had earlier mental problems before his adventure into New York City alone. His younger brother’s death, exile out of New York into many boarding schools, and his

A Look into the Human Mind. Sl

773 words - 3 pages . Billy’s father is a source of his instability from the beginning. Mr. Pilgrim treats Billy as if he has no feelings and he is a disgrace to him. Unfortunately for Billy, fathers are very influential in a boy’s growing up. In a terrible encounter with his father when Billy was young, Mr. Pilgrim sets the stage for Billy’s insanity: Little Billy was terrified because his father had said Billy was going to learn to swim by the method of sink-or-swim


760 words - 3 pages result.Billy's father is a source of his instability from the beginning. Mr. Pilgrim treats Billy as if he has no feelings and he is a disgrace to him. Unfortunately for Billy, fathers are very influential in a boy's growing up. In a terrible encounter with his father when Billy was young, Mr. Pilgrim sets the stage for Billy's insanity: Little Billy was terrified because his father had said Billy was going to learn to swim by the method of sink-or-swim

Blanche DuBois within A Streetcar Named Desire - English Literarure - Essay

835 words - 4 pages greater victimization by Stanley. Blanche’s mental instability seems to be founded in her childhood and evolves with circumstances including her husband Alan’s death as well as a further string of mortalities. These memories plague her and she uses promiscuity, alcohol and a make-believe world to provide escapism. Stanley’s failure to recognize her emotional fragility and her dependence on a fantasy world ultimately destroy the feeble construction of

Similar Essays

Instability Essay

1267 words - 6 pages Alone. To express such a state in words, you could either use loneliness, which represents the pain of being alone; or you can use solitude, which represents the glory of it. However, in the case of the play Othello by William Shakespeare, being alone can only be a bad thing. Seclusion will result in instability in your behaviour, family and emotions. This play teaches the reader that being isolated puts you in a very volatile environment

Journal Two Essay

653 words - 3 pages afraid of death; they're blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they're plagued with no mothers or fathers; they got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; they're so conditioned that they practically can't help behaving as they ought to behave" (Huxley 151). In the Huxleyan Warning by Neil Postman, the author argues that we are approaching the Huxleyan future. He states, "When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when

Mining For Fuel To Boost Economy Of South Africa

1033 words - 5 pages What price would you put on a diamond or even gold, is certainly not the economy of an entire country. That is the case in South Africa with mining being their fuel to boost their economy. Their economy needed the boost due to political instability burying the country into the ground. Being the fuel that helped South Africa’s GDP raise by 20% it has helped this country improve so much over the years. Political instability is one of the key

The Black Death Essay

519 words - 2 pages by the Black Death. Peasants salaries were increasing where as aristocrats’ loss around 20 percent of their income. This caused social instability and lead riots. Peasants revolted against the nobles which affected commercial and industrial activities. The political structure changed causing instability. This was due to internal conflicts on who should lead to bureaucracy. How and why did the authority and prestige of the papacy decline in