Commonplace 13

One of the most interesting concepts in society is culture. Why is an action acceptable in one place, but not in another. The theme I’d like to discuss today is the death penalty. 31 states in the USA still execute the death penalty, and over 50 countries around the world also believe it is a fair punishment. What has brought me to further analyze this subject and it’s variability is the TV Show “Prison Break”. In the show, the brother of the main character is sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. While this sounds like something done just to make the plot exciting, it is highly debated around the world. What if an innocent man in killed? In many cases, evidence is found months or years later after the trial, evidence that could potentially prove that the defendant isn’t guilty. There are groups both in favor and against the action, but what makes these people take sides?

We have learned throughout the course that commonplaces influence and are influenced by the people that live within its imaginary boundaries. The picture to the left shows the division of states in regards to the capital punishment. The map below shows the division of states in regards to political views. It is interesting, however, to note that in the show, the death penalty would happen in Chicago. The state of Illinois abolished the death penalty in the 90s, years before the show aired.

The TV show, in my opinion, chose to break the commonplaces in which the death penalty is accepted by making it occur in a state that doesn’t allow it. While no concrete conclusions can be drawn, I believe that the ultimate goal was to strike those in commonplaces that believe the death penalty is fair. I believe the director wanted them to see that incarceration is indeed fair, but taking a man’s life has serious implications and can turn out to be unfair if evidence that proves him innocent surfaces.


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