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Dead Man Walking Essay

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Steven LaGuardia


Ms. McInaw

Dead Man Walking Essay

        To me this was a very powerful movie and I can’t say that I disagree with the outcome because Matthew Poncelet, the convicted murderer, was guilty and he received punishment that was just in the eyes of the law at the time.  I really struggle to pick a side when it comes to the death penalty.  I know that if it was my child that was killed I would have trouble sleeping at night knowing that the man that were to take the life of my child still lives.  This is all hypothetical and maybe it is just my immature mind talking but as of now I believe in an eye for an eye.  This rule goes for most things in life regarding law.  It is seen in insurance, for example if someone causes x dollars worth of damage they owe x dollars.  That being said, life is priceless and the ending scene of the movie with the execution of Matthew was anything but heart-warming.  I also believe that the nun Helen did a good job of trying to defend her cause in the litigation which was to defend Matthew because she believed that all life was precious as she is a devout Catholic.  I think she was just pushing for Matthew to undergo life in prison rather than face the death penalty.  Overall, I think that this movie was an important portrayal of the process of the death penalty and as sad as the ending scene was, I was equally disturbed by the crimes that Matthew committed.  I agree that the death penalty is a gruesome concept but there can be endless debates to each end of the argument.  In the end life in prison is more cost effective and more moral in a sense but in the eyes of those who were really hurt by the loss of a loved one they would want the death penalty as exhibited in the movie.  

        I fail to see why it is that Matthew lied to Sister Helen early on in the movie.  The fact that he lied definitely made me lose even more respect for him but either way I still think he deserves to die.  If there was a means to let Poncelot undergo life in prison I say it be his choice, even though that sounds so crude, some people would probable rather just die than spend the rest of their days in a prison cell.  Also I think the family watching him being executed would be wanting the same thing, they were Catholic themselves but they did not forgive Poncelot for what he did and even if they did they should not have any right in deciding his fate.  That being said, the family will eventually be able to see the bigger picture and forgive Poncelot and move on.  This will come to them with time and worship of God as well as prayer which will lead show them that life is too short to harbor hatred.  



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