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The Issue Of Capital Punishment As In The Film Dead Man Walking

1450 words - 6 pages

The Issue of Capital Punishment as in the film Dead Man Walking

In this essay I am going to analyse and explain how the issue of
Capital Punishment is portrayed in the film "Dead Man Walking", a true
story acted out.

Before I proceed with this essay, I think it necessary to give some
background information on Capital Punishment. Capital punishment, also
referred to as the death penalty, is the ordered execution of a
prisoner as a punishment for a serious crime. Prisoners are kept in an
isolated part of the prison, often-called Death Row, until the
execution date.

Methods of execution have varied over time and include; lethal
injection, decapitation (using a sword, axe or guillotine),
Electrocution (in an electric chair), hanging, gassing, strangulation,
drowning. Also used at some point were the methods of burning,
crucifixion, impalement, crushing, stoning, shooting by firing squad,
disembowelment, sawing, tearing apart by horses, devouring by wild
animals and crushing by an elephant. The most common method of
execution these days is lethal injection. 111 countries out of the
estimated 193 on earth do not practice Capital Punishment, but in 30
of the remaining known countries do practice Capital Punishment. In
the US 895 people have been executed from 1976 to 2003.

The story of the "Dead Man Walking" is as follows. A convicted killer
on Death Row called Matthew Poncelet has been sentenced to death by
lethal injection. He has committed the crime of attacking two
teenagers, a boy, and a girl, raping the girl then killing them both.
He writes to Christian nun, Sister Helen Prejean and asks her to find
him a decent lawyer in hope of changing his death sentence to a
sentence of life imprisonment. Sister Helen is unsure having not done
anything like this before. She isn't sure what she is getting herself
into, nevertheless she agrees to go and see him.

Capital Punishment is not used in the United Kingdom, but is used in
the United States. There are many arguments for Capital Punishment. A
popular argument for Capital Punishment is that having criminals
executed deters crime because, other people will not break the law in
fear of being executed. One other argument is that families of the
victim/s can have peace of mind and achieve revenge ion the criminal.
In "Dead Man Walking" Mr Percy, a victims dad says

"I'm going to watch you fry, watch you sizzle"

This right of having revenge on a person who has committed a crime on
you stems from the extensively quoted biblical text,

"an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" which means if someone, for
example, stabs you it is quite all right for you to stab them back.
This quote is used as an argument in "Dead Man Walking". Another
religious quote used in the film supporting Capital Punishment is ,

"Those who live by the...

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