Maitred to the Damned


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Rudolph has not the slightest idea that one can rise above criminal experts: At first Rudolph repeats all the trivial objections to capital punishment: Every crime can be atoned for and redeemed, the Saviour said, but only if the criminal earnestly desires to repent and atone. The transition from the court to the scaffold is too short I shall paralyse your strength I shall cut you off only from the outer world in order to plunge you into impenetrable night and leave you alone with the memory of your ignominious deeds You will be forced to look into yourself There is no more Critical means of getting rid of the perverse manifestations of a human essential strength than the destruction of this essential strength.

This is the Christian means — plucking out the eye if it offends or cutting off the hand if it offends, in a word, killing the body if the body gives offence; for the eye, the hand, the body are really only superfluous sinful appendages of man. Human nature must be killed in order to heal its ailments. Mass-type jurisprudence, too, in agreement here with the Critical, sees in the laming and paralysing of human strength the antidote to the objectionable manifestations of that strength. What Rudolph, the man of pure Criticism, objects to in profane criminal justice is the too swift transition from the court to the scaffold.

He, on the other hand, wants to link vengeance on the criminal with penance and consciousness of sin in the criminal, corporal punishment with spiritual punishment, sensuous torture with the non-sensuous torture of remorse. Profane punishment must at the same time be a means of Christian moral education,. He emasculates him, robs him of a productive organ , the eye. This punishment was current in the thoroughly Christian empire of Byzantium and came to full flower in the vigorous youthful period of the Christian-Germanic states of England and France.


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A certain speculative bashfulness prevents Herr Szeliga from discussing openly the penal theory of his hero Rudolph that worldly punishment must be linked with Christian repentance and atonement. According to Hegel, the criminal in his punishment passes sentence on himself. Gans developed this theory at greater length. In Hegel this is the speculative disguise of the old jus talionis [the right of retaliation-an eye for an eye] , which Kant expounded as the only juridical penal theory. He thus leaves the mode of application to the respective stage of development of the state, i.

Survivor of the Voyage of the Damned

Precisely in that he shows himself more critical than his Critical echo. A penal theory which at the same time sees in the criminal the man can do so only in abstraction , in imagination, precisely because punishment , coercion , is contrary to human conduct. Moreover, this would be impossible to carry out. Plato long ago realised that the law must be one-sided and take no account of the individual. On the other hand, under human conditions punishment will really be nothing but the sentence passed by the culprit on himself.

No one will want to convince him that violence from without , done to him by others, is violence which he had done to himself. On the contrary, he will see in other men his natural saviours from the punishment which he has imposed on himself; in other words, the relation will be reversed.

Maitre'd to the Damned

He wants to teach him to pray. He wants to convert the Herculean robber into a monk whose only work is prayer. Finally, it goes without saying that whenever real mass-type legislation was seriously concerned with improving the criminal it acted incomparably more sensibly and humanely than the German Harun al-Rashid. The thought that dominates him is, of course, the thought of revenge on Rudolph.

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He teaches him to understand that without it man is unmanned and becomes a helpless object of mockery for children. He convinces him that the world deserved his crimes, for he had only to lose his sight to be ill-treated by it. He had said to Rudolph: We shall not give a detailed description of this dream.


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    Survivor of the Voyage of the Damned

    I must have a long talk with you before killing you It is going to be terrible for you. First of all, you see I have become horrified at my past cruelty At first I would not let you torture the songstress [Fleur de Marie], but that was nothing By bringing me to this cellar and making me suffer cold and hunger I should not have thought it possible Yes, I shall have done my duty when I have punished my accomplice with my own hand I am now horrified at my past murders, and yet His first words are a frank expression of his desire for vengeance.

    He wants to give torture for torture. He wants to murder Chouette and he wants to prolong her agony by a long sermon. And — delightful sophistry! He asserts that his dream at Bouqueval has improved him. At the same time he reveals the real effect of the dream by admitting that it almost drove him mad and that it will actually do so. He gives as a proof of his reform that he prevented Fleur de Marie from being tortured.

    They must continually say: Since their life has no real content, their words must give vigorous tones to insignificant features like the protection of Fleur de Marie. He must say to Chouette: Solitude has Purified me. They betray what kind of thoughts occupied him in his dungeon. He wants to avenge, not himself, but the common victims of Chouette and himself. If he murders her, he does not commit murder , he fulfils a duty.

    He does not avenge himself on her, he punishes his accomplice like an impartial judge. He shudders at his past murders and, nevertheless, marvelling at his own casuistry, he asks Chouette: Without fear and quite calmly I am going to kill you. This revelation will be hateful to you The joy of having you here in my hands makes the blood pound in my veins I shall have time to make the approach of your death terrifying to you by forcing you to listen to me The ideas are reflected almost materially in my brain.

    Turned Their Backs

    When repentance is linked with an atonement of terrifying severity, an atonement that changes our life into a long sleeplessness filled with hallucinations of revenge or desperate reflections Chouette must hear how he came by degrees to repentance. This revelation will be hateful to her, for it will prove that it is his duty to take a pitiless revenge on her, not in his own name, but in the name of their common victims.

    Then he calms his blood again.


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    The long time that he takes in preaching her a moral sermon is not wasted for his revenge. That is a different moral reason, one for protracting his sermon! And having such moral reasons he can safely resume his moral text where he left off. For one to whom the sensuously perceptible world becomes a mere idea , for him mere ideas are transformed into sensuously perceptible beings.

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