Definition of "drawn and quartered" is radically incomplete

The definition here of “drawn and quartered” is radically incomplete. It leaves out the most gruesome part of the process by leaving incomplete the description of “disemboweling.” This involved the executioner taking a red hot pincer device, shoving it up the rectum of the condemned, grabbing onto a portion of the intestine, and pulling it out. The pulling out was done very slowly so as to protract the agony. The whole process of drawing and quartering could take up to 15 minutes and was accompanied by the howls of the mob, which watched from close range, by the stench of the guts coming apart, and, needless to say, by agony and complete humiliation on the part of the condemned. I commend to you the book “The Tyrannicide Brief” by Geoffrey Robertson (2005), a biography of the man who prosecuted King Charles in England in the 1600s, for details. (This man was executed with the restoration of the monarchy a few years later.) The details are useful to know, since (a) it points up the bottomless depravity of some human beings when they’re seized by absolute certainty in the rightness of their cause and (b) it shows the risk faced by America’s founders - not just a quick hanging, but horrifying torture.

I dunno, maybe Unca Cec thought that the description was gruesome enough without going farther into details? :eek:

Link to column.

But frankly I don’t see the value in leaving out the details. We should know what we face when we confront the dark side of the human soul, and have the courage to face it and confront it fully. (End of sermon. Thank you for listening.)

“Bottomless depravity” certainly seems to fit the description here. :eek:

I’m in hospital at the moment and can’t give proper cites, but I do have a couple of books at home about torture (no comments on my reading preferences :D) and the woodcuts in them show the belly being slit open and the guts being drawn out that way. Not saying that they never used the rear entrance, just that I don’t think they always did it that way.

Interesting. I wonder, though, if the woodcuts of the time found too horrifying the idea of depicting the actual procedure, and prevaricated on the entry route.

There’s no question that the history of torture is interesting, if hard to deal with sometimes. I believe torture is embedded in our souls. I think it’s entirely possible that every single person alive today who’s descended from Europeans has a distant forebear who witnessed torture of the most horrible sort or actually endured it.

Drawing and quartering isn’t torture, because it’s not intended to extract information. It’s punishment.

Well, they showed impalment up the arse, so I dont think they were that reticent … and I seem to remember the saint who got her tits ripped off being shown getting her tits ripped off in at least one woodcut…

torture 1.a. Infliction of severe physical pain as a means of punishment or coercion. (Am. Heritage Dictionary of the English Language third ed.)