Foucault talks about a type of torture and punishment that was carefully calculated and meant to be precise. The magnitude of torture inflicted depended on the type and severity of the crime committed. The amount of agony one experienced in the process of their death was often believed to be in the hands of God. If a person died quickly with relatively low pain, it was thought that God had spared them suffering, and if they died a painful death, it was just a precursor to the punishment they would receive in the afterlife. Torture was often performed in order to get information about a case or to obtain a confession from the alleged criminal. This practice was corrupt in that some guilty men had such a strong will that they would never confess, while some innocent men were liable to confess crimes they hadn't committed in order for the torture to cease. If the alleged criminal “held out” against the torture, they won, in a sense, against the prosecutor and could not be punished for their crimes. Torture was also an unfair means of attempting to obtain information because it inflicted a sort of punishment on an alleged criminal before they had even been proved guilty. If proven guilty and sentenced to public execution, it was the responsibility of the criminal to announce to the public the crime they had committed and the form of execution they had been condemned to. In this system, if a person violated the law, it was of direct offence to superior officials of the government, such as the king. The law had been laid out by the king and violation of it required “that the king take revenge for an affront to his very person” (48). The people were expected to carry out this vengeance for the king. These public displays of violence were meant to show the immense power that the government had over its citizens and to strike fear into the spectators.
Sometimes the spectators would see the punishment as much too severe in relation to the crime committed. In these instances the criminal would become to seem like a hero in the eyes of the spectators. In some cases, spectators would revolt, resulting in injury or death of the executioners and dismantling of execution equipment. Many of these criminals-turned-to-heroes were remembered as “asking both God and man for forgiveness for his crimes” (67). These people were later remembered as dying as a saint in that they “had come through some process of purification” in their sentence and death (67).
The video shows that government officials (a dictator in this case) still rely on the people to instill punishments for their crimes. The police were sent to fight the protesters and killed and wounded many of them. Both the video and the article, however, show that the people still play an important role in the treatment and punishment of so called criminals. In the video, the people were punished by the police because they were out of line, but in the end, the people rose up against the government and put an end to its unfair actions. In the article, the people also have the power in that if they didn't congregate in order to witness the executions, these punishments would lose all their power.