Essay about Is Capital Punishment Just in Execution of Tropmann by Ivan Turgenev

Essay about Is Capital Punishment Just in Execution of Tropmann by Ivan Turgenev

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In the essay titled The Execution of Tropmann by Ivan Turgenev, he offers an eye witness account of the execution of young gentlemen named Tropmann. Throughout Turgenev’s essay, his focus to his readers is to primarily deliver his perspective as an un-involved onlooker of Tropmann’s execution. As Turgenev’s speaks, he sets a tone of anxiety and anticipation surrounding this ordeal and during this publically hyped execution he turns his attention towards whether or not capital punishment is morally just.
Turgenev’s account of Tropmann’s execution most likely differs from the account of others; especially, from those who have ever experienced witnessing an execution before. He seems to provide an unbiased and sincere account of what he witnessed in January of 1870. It was then where Turgenev witnessed the life of Tropmann in exchange for his criminal deeds which was for murder. Turgenev’s personal account seems to be very authentic and evokes the emotion of his reader.
In the opening of Turgenev’s essay, it is hard to recognize at first the deeper meaning behind the harshness of capital punishment. You think Turgenev is just telling a story that starts to get somewhat confusing up until he starts using pathos by projecting his emotions into the text. In the very beginning of the essay, he speaks to how he only accepted the invitation to the execution because he wanted to be polite. Then he goes on to say “I did not want to go back on my word. False pride prevented my doing so...And what if they should think that I was a coward?” (Turgenev, 1994, p. 306-307) By him saying this, it means that he only accepted the invitation to keep a good rapport with Du Camp who at the time was a “well-known writer and expert on statistics of Paris...


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... a participant in something so heinous.
To conclude, Turgenev delivers factual claims about Tropmann’s execution based on his own personal account. Therefore, his account offers much credibility to the story he is telling. As far as his personal argument, I think he does a good job at persuading his reader to take up his side of the claim regarding capital punishment. Turgenev really shows us how weak our souls can become when we are presented with rare opportunities much like what he experienced with Tropmann. Many people came to Tropmann’s execution; however, only a few people could actually see it. I thought this was an interesting point considering that often times we will do something out of the ordinary just to proclaim that we were a part of that specific something. Turgenev’s inclusion of this thought greatly helps in his analysis against capital punishment.

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