Anton Chekhov - John Masters - Andy Warhol - George Appel - Alice in Wonderland 2010 - Game of Thrones TV - James French - Tom Ketchum - Ethel Rosenberg - Albert Camus - Helen Bond - Piny the younger - The Last Days of Anne Boleyn TV - Blackadder TV - Charles I - Oliver Cromwell - Jean-Paul Sartre - William Shakespeare - W S Gilbert - James Duke of Monmouth - Thomas More - Sylvia Plath - A Death Row Tale: The Fear of 13 TV - Nicolae Ceausescu - Errol Morris TV - Life and Death Row TV - 14 Days in May TV - Jamie Theakston’s Forbidden History TV - Timeshift: Crime and Punishment: The Story of Capital Punishment TV - The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family TV - David Starkey TV - Wolf Hall TV - Days that Shook the World TV - Abby Martin - Horizon TV -
Capital punishment kills immediately, whereas lifetime imprisonment does so slowly. Which executioner is more humane? The one who kills you in a few minutes, or the one who wrests your life from you in the course of many years? Anton Chekhov
There he arched back until the muzzle touched the centre of his spine ... The air split and clapped together, and the boards on the windows rattled. Girdhari Lall’s head flew up and spun like a black football against the orange glare of the sky. The vacuum of the blast sucked black pieces of flesh and spattered the gunners with blood and bowels. The body flew apart like a bursting water jar, and a shower of entrails and pieces of bone and flesh splashed the faces of the British Officers and Indian sepoys. John Masters, Nightrunners of Bengal p329
You’d be surprised how many people want to hang an electric chair on their wall. Andy Warhol, cited Andy Warhol’s America, BBC 2022
Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel. George Appel, executed by electric chair 1928
Off with his head! Alice in Wonderland 2010 starring Mia Wasikowska & Johnny Depp & Anne Hathaway & Helena Bonham Carter & Crispin Glover & Stephen Fry & Alan Rickman & Matt Lucas et al, director Tim Burton, queen
The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. Game of Thrones s1e1: Winter is Coming, starring Sean Bean & Mark Addy & Nikolai Coster Waldau & Michelle Fairley & Lena Headey & Emilia Clarke & Iain Glen & Harry Lloyd et al, director Tim van Patten, Bean to boy, HBO 2011
There’s no need to execute me, Ser Davos. I’ll be dead before the dawn. Game of Thrones s8e3: The Long Night ***** Melisandre, HBO 2011
Hey, fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper? ‘French Fries!’ James French, convicted murderer to press
I’ll be in Hell before you start breakfast! Let her rip! Tom ‘Black Jack’ Ketchum, bank robber before gallows
We are the first victims of American fascism! Ethel Rosenberg, spy facing execution 1953
It was as if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe.
To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I’d been happy, and that I was happy still. For all to be accomplished, for me to feel less lonely, all that remained to hope was that on the day of my execution there should be a huge crowd of spectators and that they should greet me with howls of execration. Albert Camus, The Stranger
There can be no doubt that Jesus was executed by Rome. Professor Helen Bond
I interrogated whether they were Christians. If they confessed it, I repeated the question twice again, adding the threat of capital punishment. If they still persevered, I ordered them to be executed. Pliny the younger
On 19th May 1536 one of the most infamous episodes in English history moved towards its gruesome conclusion: Anne Boleyn, Queen and second wife of King Henry VIII, was taken from her quarters in the Tower of London, and with the single blow of a sword became the first Queen in Britain’s history to be executed. Anne Boleyn’s rise to power had been highly controversial. The Last Days of Anne Boleyn, BBC 2013
Five men ... were tried and convicted of adultery and treason and sentenced to death. ibid.
Many believe she was the victim of a terrible injustice. ibid.
The bad news is that actually there are simply hundreds of Catholics who desperately want their heads sneaked off and there’s no-one to organise it. Blackadder II: Head, Elizabeth to Blackadder, BBC 1986
Right then let’s take a look shall we – who’s first in the head basket? ibid. Blackadder to Percy
Right, good morning, team, my name is Edward Blackadder and I’m the new minister in charge of religious genocide. ibid. Blackadder
Ointment, that’s what you need when your head’s been cut off. ibid. Nursie
Sweetheart, now they will cut off thy father’s head. Mark, child, what I say: they will cut off my head, and perhaps make thee a king. But mark what I say: you must not be a king, so long as your brothers Charles and James do live. Charles I, to son Henry Stuart
I tell you we will cut off his head with the crown upon it. Oliver Cromwell, December 1648
I hate victims who respect their executioners. Jean-Paul Sartre, Les Sequestres d’Altona, 1960
The common executioner
Whose heart th’ accustomed sight of death makes hard,
Falls not the axe upon the humbled neck
But first begs pardon. William Shakespeare, As You Like It III v 3-6, Silvius to Phoebe
More can I bear than you are execute. William Shakespeare, II Henry VI IV i 130
Till he unseamed him from the nave to the chaps,
And fixed his head upon our battlements. William Shakespeare, Macbeth I ii 22
Awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock,
From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block. W S Gilbert, The Mikado
Do not hack me as you did my Lord Russell. (Execution & Last Words) James Duke of Monmouth to executioner
Pluck up thy spirits, man, and be not afraid to do thine office; my neck is very short; take heed therefore thou strike not awry, for saving of thine honesty. Thomas More to executioner
It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York. I’m stupid about executions. The idea of being electrocuted makes me sick, and that’s all there was to read about in the papers – goggle-eyed headlines staring up at me on every street corner and at the fusty, peanut-smelling mouth of every subway. It had nothing to do with me, but I couldn’t help wondering what it would be like, being burned alive all along your nerves. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar p1
After more than two decades on Death Row convicted murderer Nick Tarris made a final petition to the Pennsylvania Courts. He requested that all appeals cease and his sentence of death be carried out. Storyville: A Death Row Tale: The Fear of 13, BBC 2016
‘You can still smell the aftershave on the witnesses.’ ibid.
Fidel Castro is right. You do not quieten your enemy by talking with him like a priest but by burning him. Nicolae Ceausescu
I became involved in the manufacture of execution equipment because I was concerned with the deplorable conditions of the hardware that was in most of the states’ prisons. Errol Morris, The Rise and Fall of Fred A Leuchter Jnr, 1999
I sat down on my own time and at my own expense and made a new design and new equipment available to the states utilizing electrocution at a price far lower than they would have to deal with if they hired an engineering firm to redesign a specific item. ibid.
Once the chair broke in half in the state of New York. ibid.
If my belief that there were no gas chambers … makes me a revisionist then so be it. ibid.
‘He came from nowhere and he went back to nowhere.’ ibid.
Many states in America use the death penalty to punish the worst crimes. On average 45 prisoners are executed each year. Over half of those on Death Row were arrested for murder in their teens or twenties. For two of the youngest men on Death Row in Texas execution day has arrived. Life and Death Row s1e1: Execution, BBC 2014
‘In 2002 Richard Cobb and Beunka Adams kidnapped three people from a convenience store … one of their victims wound up dead. Adams was executed in April last year; now Richard Cobb faces death by lethal injection.’ ibid. news report