Essay on The Guillotine

Submitted By serrano121
Words: 470
Pages: 2

During the 1700's, executions in France were public events where entire towns gathered to watch. A common execution method for a poor criminal was called quartering, where the prisoner's limbs were tied to four oxen, then the animals were driven in four different directions ripping the person apart. Another common execution was called breaking the wheel or Catherine wheel. The wheel was typically a large wooden wagon wheel with many radial spokes. But a wheel was not always used. In some cases the condemned were lashed to the wheel and beaten with a club or iron cudgel, with the gaps in the wheel allowing the cudgel to break through. In France, the condemned were placed on a cartwheel with their limbs stretched out along the spokes over two sturdy wooden beams. The wheel was made to revolve slowly, and a large hammer or an iron bar was then applied to the limb over the gap between the beams, breaking the bones. This process was repeated several times per limb. The wheel was abolished by king Louis the 16th in attempt to prevent a revolution. The Upper-class criminals could buy their way into a less painful death by hanging or beheading. The Guillotine was introduced to France by Dr. Joseph Ignace Guillotin, and some other members of the national assembly. They were not the actual inventors of the machine but they worked off of other devices of deception for example the Scottish Maiden, the Italian Mannaia, and the Halifax Gibbet. There where two main improvements the of Guillotine, The blade was a convex and the lunette which was to prevent the neck from moving. Soon after the convex blade was replaced with a angular blade proposed by King Louis 16th. The Final design of the Guillotine was tested with cattle and other farm animals to assure it’s…