History Of Torture Essay, Research Paper
During this report I give numerous examples of Medieval Punishment/Torture. I have to give extra credit to the web sites I found on Torture. Some give such excellent descriptions of the use of torture devises that changing them or rewriting them would totally ruin the whole picture they exemplify.
?His weeping wife stood on a stool and kissed his poor pilloried face, and when his ears were cut off she placed them in a clean handkerchief and took them away, with emotions unspeakable and undying love.? Although some societies still use ancient forms of harsh physical punishment, punishments have also evolved along with civilization and have become less cruel. Punishments range in severity depending on the crime, with the most severe forms applied to individuals whom commit the most serious crimes. Everything from pillories, stocks, to more gruesome forms like the Breast Ripper, The Pear, Brank, Fork, and Paw.
The first thing I would like to start with is the definition of torture. Torture: Infliction of severe physical pain as means of punishment or coercion; Excruciation physical or mental pain; to subject (person or animal) to torture; Especially, severe pain inflicted judicially, either as punishment for a crime, or for the purpose of extorting a confessing from an accused person, as by water or fire, by the boot or thumb kin, or by the rack or wheel. Unbearable physical pain, torment emotionally or mentally.
I need to put a warning on this report before I go on. Some of the torture, which was used, is obscene and offensive.
Pillory: also known as the stretch neck, is a wood frame work on a post, with holes for the head and hands, in which offenders were formerly locked to be exposed to public scorn as punishment; to expose to ridicule and abuse: to put in a pillory as punishment. 1405, in England, act of parliament was passed, it states that in larger towns unless they were equipped with pillories they would have to forfeit there right to town market. Pillories where the main means of punishment, and this act in 1405 shows how common pillories had become. Stretch necks were used for a wide range of petty offences. Things like not attending church, drunkenness, prostitution, even dancing around a maypole would land you a day in a pillar. More recurring occupants of the Stretch neck included shopkeepers (guilty of giving sort change or measure), Market Stall Holders (guilty of cheating customers). DeFoe stated in Hymn to the pillory: ?Tell us, great engine, how to understand or reconcile the justice of this land; how Bastwick, Prynne, Hunt, Hollingsly and Pye ? Men of unspotted honesty ? Men that had learning, wit and sense, and more than most men have had since, could equal title to thee claim with Oates and Fuller, men of fouler fame.? This statement shows that even the wealthy of men may be punished by means of the pillory.
Stocks: The hands and feet, of the accused, where put and then locked into pertinent holes. They where formed by two heavy timbers. They were then set out in the square. A stock was not a form of punishment for the ?gentlemen.? Which is sort of weird how this was not considered proper for the gentlemen but setting them into the pillory was all right. A few examples of stocks are drunkenness, Sabbath breakers, and gamblers.
Stoning: Form of punishment prescribed for certain offences. One really can?t go into too much detail on this form of cruelty it is very self-explainitory. Most likely the community would take place in this cruel procedure. Rocks (stones) are thrown at the accused till they die. Some instances of being drugged behind a horse, as the rocks where thrown.
Branks or Scold?s Bridles: Around during the 1500 to 1800. Best described as an iron cage (for just the head). The victim of this punishment had objects forced in the mouth, some even mutilated the tongue with sharp objects, ranging in severity, the nastiest being razor blades. After the accused head was placed in the brank, they would by placed in the base of town, and tormented by the crowd. This horrific object was used to punish those who, by their words, had transgressed against prevailing convention, against the arrogance of the male power structure or against the state of things in general. Most punished were women, thus bring the phrase mulier taceat in ecclesia ?let the women be silent in church?. Also ?Chester presents Walten with a bridle to cure women?s tongues that talk too idle.?
I. Definition of Torture 1
II. The Pillory n
III. The Stocks n
IV. Stoning n
V. Branks or Scold?s Bridles n
VI. The Heretic Fork n
VII. Cats Paw n
VIII. The Pear n
VIV. The Breast Ripper n
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY n