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September 20, 2005

Do we rape the rapist?

Robbins and Prejean, Dead Man Walking: The Shooting Script -- Drama as Literature (EL 250)

Do we rape the rapist? Why is it that we kill the murderer?

I've done a two-peron speech before on the death penalty. One had to argue against it and the other for it. I happened to pick the side against capitol punishment, and as I did the research, and even after reading/seeing this play I still feel it isn't right.

I felt sympathy for Matt often throughout the play. Does that make me a bad person, lol?

TRAPP: Sister, I ain't got no problem with killin' nobody. I served my country proudly in Nam. I killed men before. But them guys had guns. Kill or be killed, you know? These here guys can't defend themself. We're draggin' 'em, holdin' 'em down. It ain't fair, makes you feel dirty.

I believe Matt was truly sorry for what he did and thought it was unfair he was put to death and not the other guy.

MATT: Last night when they dimmed the lights on the tier I kneeled down by my bunk and prayed for them kids. I never done that before.

Posted by AmandaNichols at September 20, 2005 10:05 AM


I don't think that feeling sympathetic toward Matt is wrong. The whole screenplay is working to get us to think that. Anyone, once seeing Matt's human nature can no longer think of him as a monster. Like the lawyer said, people can kill a monster, but it's a lot harder for them to kill a person.

Posted by: David Denninger at September 20, 2005 11:04 AM

No, it doesn't make you a bad person at all. I felt the same way. Especially when you see Matt opening up to Helen and showing that he is simply human. That could happen to anyone of us. Get caught up in the wrong croud, or hang out with the wrong person, one thing leads to another, and something like this happens, and then you're stuck. It may not always be the case of murder, but it does happen. I felt bad for Matt too, especially when he shows remorse for what he has done.

Posted by: Chera Pupi at September 20, 2005 11:04 AM

That's a pretty good point Mandy. If we don't rape a rapist, or burn an arson, why do we kill the murderer? I haven't looked at the issue that way before.

I see what you mean about feeling bad for Matt throughout the play. In my case however, I find it hard to sympathize with him because of his tough guy attitude, it's a little sketchy to me. If he would listen to other people and open up a little more, I think that everyone would feel for him. Towards the end when he shows that he really is a normal human being and has feelings I find it a lot easier to sympathize with him.

Posted by: Andy Lonigro at September 20, 2005 11:12 AM

The arguments for the death penalty include the suggestion that the severity of the punishment is a deterrent, that keeping a convict alive for 50 years is a drain on the resources of a society already damaged by the crime, and so forth.

Amanda, how would your attitude change if the other guy was also put to death? That would address your concern about fairness, wouldn't it?

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at September 20, 2005 11:36 AM

Andy I got the feeling that the whole point of Matt having the "tough guy attitude" was so you didn't sympathize with him right away. The end wouldn't have such a strong impact if you had felt sorry for him all along. At least that's how I felt.

Posted by: Sean Runt at September 20, 2005 01:25 PM

Thanks for all your input, guys. I'm glad I am not the only one who felt sympathy for Matt.

Dr. Jerz: Yeah I think it's be more fair if the other guy was alos put to death. It makes me sick that Matt's life was determined because of a crappy, state-provided lawyer.

Posted by: Amanda at September 20, 2005 03:39 PM

If anyone is interested about more on capitol punishment, I found an interesting website I used when I had to make a speech on it early senior year. It gives a lot of good information for and against the death penalty.


Posted by: Amanda at September 20, 2005 04:12 PM

I also blogged about the death penalty as well. I agree with the death penalty. I do also feel that Matt, towards the end of the play, felt sorry for his wrong doings. I don't think that he felt like this in the beginning though. He was trying to be a tough guy. He also wasnt also going to die soon. He prayed to God the night before his execution, trying to find a loop hole. But before this night he would have never done this.

Posted by: Denamarie at September 20, 2005 05:47 PM

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