Analysis Of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

Amongst the many criminal acts one may commit, cold-blooded murder bares the most severe punishment by law. In Truman Capote's 1966 non-fiction novel, In Cold Blood, the punishment of such an act is argued due to the amount of verification needed to authorize the death in the court of law. It assesses the plea for insanity as being the main action taken by Perry Edward Smith and Richard Eugene Hickock during the trial for the four murders of the Clutter Family, and the most common act for murder defendants in the mid 20th century. The novel also highlights the confusion and perfusion of jury members in reaching a final verdict. Capote's argument is valid due to the possibility of insanity in the defendants, corruption in the court of law, and …show more content…
Capote's basis for this argument is just due to neglect in administering the defendants a proper psychiatric examination because Kansas' law adheres to the M'Naghten Rule, "The ancient British importation which contends that if the accused knew the nature of his act, and knew it was wrong, then he is mentally competent and responsible for his actions" (Capote 262). However, if assessed in depth by a professional who may speak in court, the jury may have understood crucial facts such as Smith being unaware of his actions and losing control during the murders, "And just then it was like I was outside myself. Watching myself in some nutty movie. It made me sick" (Capote 221). The only professional who examines them also concluded that Hickock shows typical characteristics of a severe character disorder. This doctor however, was denied the opportunity to explain this before the jury. Thus, due to the neglect of the court in allowing a thorough psychiatric evaluation, it is unknown whether the defendants were temporarily …show more content…
The attempted retrial by Hickock's attorneys may have given further answers to the question of insanity. However, Capote's argument that the death penalty was an unjust punishment will remain true. Citizens of the United States are given the right to be innocent until proven guilty. Due to the unanswered question of insanity, this cannot be proven. It will never be known as to whether Perry Edward Smith and Richard Eugene Hickock actually deserved to die for their

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