In Cold Blood Speech Analysis

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The novel In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote and the passage from Speech in Favor of Capital Punishment, by John Stuart Mill are both works of literature that focus on the use of the death penalty. In Cold Blood tells a story of two men, Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, who savagely murder a family of four during the 1950’s. Through capture of the killers, the trial that they must face and the execution of the men, Capote gives the readers insight on his wavering beliefs about capital punishment. In contrast, Mill uses his speech written in 1868 to ensure society that the death penalty is the most appropriate action to take when sentencing a killer. Although the authors have different views on the morality of capital punishment, Capote and Mill use rhetorical devices to express their arguments. The use of…show more content…
In Mill’s speech, he uses phrases such as “debarred from all pleasant sights” and “cut from all earthly hope” to dehumanize the thought of allowing a killer to in live in prison miserably for the rest of his life, flattering the idea that the death penalty is far more morally correct. Capote describes sentencing Smith and Hickock to death as “a relic of human barbarism” (Capote 303). Using “relic” and “barbarism” ridicules the idea of allowing the government to kill someone just as easily as the murderers killed their victims. Capote believes that by doing so, the government is almost as monstrous as the killer and that it sets a terrible example to society. Later on, an officer tries to justify why they should receive the death penalty because he “never killed four people in cold blood” (Capote 306). Another officer refutes his statement by saying that hanging the two men is “pretty goddamn cold-blooded too” (Capote 306). The strong language Capote has the characters use in this banter carries on the evidence that Capote disagrees with capital
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