H. Holmes Murder Castle Essay

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The Architecture and Function of H. H. Holmes’ “Murder Castle”
The Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 celebrated the four hundredth discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. It showcased the incredible progress and marvels of the past century and drew twenty-seven million visitors from every corner of the globe. Of those twenty-seven million who arrived to celebrate and learn, approximately two hundred of those in attendance would not leave Chicago. They checked into the hotel on South Wallace and 63rd Street, exhausted but amazed by all the grand sights they had seen, and were never seen again. For this hotel was a deathtrap, created by a mad doctor with ill intentions. The “Murder Castle”, built by H. H. Holmes, was architecturally
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H. Holmes, was a pharmacist, a con man, and a doctor practicing in Chicago. From a young age, his fascination with death led him to kill and dissect animals. Despite, or perhaps because of these urges, he obtained a degree in medicine and moved to Chicago, where his twisted but brilliant mind formulated a murderous plan (H. H. Holmes: America 's First Serial Killer). Much like Halvard Solness from the play “The Master Builder”, he had no architectural background, but it would be through his building that he would be remembered (Ibsen). He bought a corner lot and built a three-story structure. Within the building, Holmes had a perfect playground for murder, disguised in layers of distractions and seemingly good…show more content…
These security measures, in a twisted fashion, bring to one’s mind the principles Vitruvius described two thousand years earlier during the Roman Empire. According to the architect, a structure must fit its intended function (Vitruvius). In the Murder Castle, the structure of each room, with their deadly additions and the disorienting layout of the hotel, absolutely matched the intended function. Holmes wanted the perfect killing ground: a place he could act out his twisted fantasies of death while maintaining unparalleled control over his helpless victims. The structure allowed him to do exactly that, with terrifying success and
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