Guillotine History

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"Mademoiselle Guillotine" During the course of the French Revolution, the persistent rebels finally achieved their goal and overthrew the tyrannical monarchy. However, even after this initial struggle came even greater bloodshed, for the rebels proved they could be just as brutal as their old oppressors. Yet, this brutality would never have been as extreme as it was were it not for the invention of the infamous guillotine. A dark machine designed for decapitation, it consists of a tall, wooden frame in which a heavy, sharp blade is suspended. Through the use of rope, this blade could be raised to its peak and then, upon releasing the rope, would be allowed to fall freely so that it swiftly crashes down upon its victims' soft necks. While…show more content…
Finally, as the moment of truth arrived and the first victim's face was shoved down into the lunette, or, slot for one's head, the crowd would become silent. Then, as the blade rose and fell, they would erupt in cheers and shouts of joy as blood slowly trickled onto the streets. Once the Reign of Terror had passed and France, after years of turmoil, was finally beginning to enter a period of relative calm, the guillotine's number of victims began to diminish, as did the number of people attending public executions. Apparently, people could only see one lose his head so many times before boredom set in. Additionally, more and more evidence was brought up that theorized that the guillotine's deaths were not as painless as believed. After curiosity was sparked by the strange movements of the eyes and mouth after decapitation occurred, some began to perform experiments on recently decapitated victims. Later, it was determined that due to the clean slicing ability of the guillotine's blade, many nerve cells remained undamaged. Therefore, it was possible to maintain consciousness for a period of about seven seconds after decapitation before death results from blood loss. This information deterred some from using the guillotine so frequently, however it continued to be a major form of execution. Although many believe the guillotine to be a long-extinct weapon
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