Classical Theory: The Good Son

After watching the movie the good son I found a lot to similarities between what went on and the classical theory. I plan on highlighting Cesare Beccaria’s classical theories central assumptions and giving examples of events that occurred in the movie to connect the two. To setup some of the story I’ll introduce you to the characters and what their role is throughout the movie. The mother and father are Wallace and Susan Evans, and their children are Henry and Connie. After Mark Evans mother dies, and his father Jack goes out of town on business Mark is sent to live with his Uncle Wallace and Aunt Susan and their two kids for three weeks.
The classical theory is one that believes that human beings were believed to act in terms of their own self-interest, but also to be capable of considering which course of action was really in their self-interest(Classical 1). Also the classical theorists believed that people were free willed, making them completely responsible for their actions(Bohm 12). The state would then construct laws and punishments in such a way that people would understand peaceful and non-criminal actions to be in their self-interest through strategies of punishment based on deterrence(Classical 1). When it came to punishing individuals, Beccaria believed that the only purpose for punishment was for deterrence to make sure that that individual or anyone else who knew of the crime did not also commit the same crime(Bohm 14).
One of the assumptions that the classical theory makes is that it assumes that everyone is motivated to engage in crime through the pursuit of their self-interests(Agnew 17). As a child most of what you do is in the pursuit of your own self-interest, at least so it seems at the time. In the beginning of the movie the crimes start out slow that Henry commits and seems to drag Mark into every time he does, but with them being so small Mark does not think anything of them. For instance, the two boys start throwing rocks acting as they were grenades and it then escalades into throwing the rocks through panes of glass on the building that they are inside of. Another example, it is right after that point in the movie that Henry takes Mark to a well and pulls a box out of the well that he has hidden. Inside the box are a lighter and some cigarettes that Henry lights up and gets Mark to take a drag.

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