Rhetorical Analysis of The Penalty of Death

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Rhetorical Analysis of The Penalty of Death Capital punishment is defined as the killing of a person by judicial process and punishment. In the McGraw-Hill Reader on pages one hundred and forty-five to page one hundred and forty-seven Henry Louis Mencken argues capital punishment. This article titled “Penalty of Death” was first published in Prejudices: Fifth Series in 1926. The article begins as being for capital punishment, but Mencken turns it around and defends capital punishment in his own unique way. Mencken, just like I do, believes that capital punishment is good in every way, and he can argue his points with great detail. In the article he points out two reasons why many people are against capital punishment. He continues through the article by defending why people should be for capital punishment. The first point against capital punishment is that the work of the hangman is unpleasant (Mencken 145). But in defense, Mencken states that many jobs are unpleasant, which is so. Everyone at one time has a complaint about their job and something unpleasant about it. He also argues that there is not any evidence that a hangman complains about his job, and that he has known many who delighted in their ancient art, and practiced it proudly. The second point against capital punishment is that it is useless, for it does not deter others from the same crime. Mencken states that this is another point that is uncertain and can be argued. Those who are for capital punishment assume that the only reason capital punishment is wanted is to deter crime. This is in fact, not true. It is obviously one of the aims of punishment but not the only one. “They believe that we simply hang or electrocute A in order to alarm B so he will not kill C” (Mencken 145). This is only an assumption. Deterrence, of course, is a main aim, but there is another just as

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