In the article, “The Penalty of Death” by Henry Louis Mencken, Mencken strongly argues that the death penalty is a reasonable punishment for criminals. He states that capital punishment is beneficial for any justice system. He believes that the death penalty should be given to anyone who takes another person’s life. In his essay, he attacks the actual purpose of the death penalty, which include the necessity of practicing it for society and deterrence. Mencken attacks the idea that the “hangman” is an unpleasant job. He includes examples of other jobs that are also unpleasant and how this one should not be targeted and abolished. People rarely think that there is a more severe job.

He mentions that capital punishment saves lives. He believes this because it stops someone who murders from repeating the crime. H.

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L Mencken also argues that the main reason of the death punishment is to provide Katharsis to society. Katharsis can be defined as a release of emotional tension. People can use the death penalty as a sense of leverage for revenge and vengeance. It creates a sense of emotional satisfaction for individuals. The death penalty can also allow a society to believe they have a consistent sense of security from criminals.


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