Capital punishment in the essays by George Orwell, H.L. Mencken, and Norman Mailer was a necessary evil to deter crime. These authors incorporated the use of alcohol or drugs as mind-altering chemicals to relieve the pressures of the characters involved in death due to capital punishment. Chemicals such as drugs and alcohol can be used for the pleasure of relieving stress, a means to forget, or a way to subdue personal beliefs as the authors have illustrated.
The pleasure of relieving stress in George Orwell's essay "A Hanging" was detailed by his thoughts written as one of the executioners. This character drank alcohol to relieve the painful memories of escorting the prisoner to the gallows. The character would have rather saved the man from hanging when the author wrote "It is curious, but till that moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man" (pg 89). Orwell describes in detail how the condemned man "was not dying, he was alive just as we are alive all the organs of his body were working, bowels digesting food, skin renewing itself, nails growing, tissues forming, all toiling away in solemn foolery." (pg 89). The author continues to illustrate the character's mental anguish when he says "he and we were a party of men walking together, seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding the same world, and in two minutes with a sudden snap, one o...
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