"Torture" by: Michael Levin and Cesare Bonesana Comparison of two opposing perceptions of torture in society.

Essay by sd720College, UndergraduateA+, February 2004

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Torture is defined as "infliction of severe physical pain as a means of punishment or coercion." Michael Levin and Cesare Bonesana both discuss this controversial issue in their essays. Both essays present readers with complete information on the issue. However, the writing style and strategies used by Michael Levin, in "The Case for Torture," make his argument more effective and easier to follow.

In determining the more effective argument, we can simply analyze the opening paragraphs of the two authors. For example, take into account the following starting paragraph from Bonesana's "Torture": "A cruelty consecrated among most nations by custom is the torture of the accused during his trial, on the pretext of compelling him to confess his crime, of clearing up contradictions in his statements, of discovering his accomplices, of purging him in some metaphysical and incomprehensible way from infamy, or finally of finding out other crimes of which he may possibly be guilty, but of which he is not accused."

Lengthy, monotonous, and repetitive are the words that best describe this introduction to the argument. This style of writing causes readers to lose an interest on the issue, making it an ineffective one. On the other hand, Levins introduction is more colorful and concise: "It is generally assumed that torture is impermissible, a throwback to a more brutal age. Enlightened societies reject it outright, and regimes suspected of using it risk the wrath of the United States." Thus, the essay written by Michael Levin generates, in readers, an interest about this controversial topic by presenting them with something to relate to: the United States' opinion on the matter, whereas Bonesana simply "defines" the term torture.

Cesare Bonesana, author of "Torture," uses definition, description, and history to make her case. These monotonous descriptions do not make it easy for...