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Why Truman Capote used "Ballad of the Hanged" as an intro

             In the book In Cold Blood, Truman Capote used the first four lines of the poem "Ballad of the Hanged Men". I believe that he does this as a way to tell the reader how he feels about the book. Truman Capote also does this as a way to set the tone for the rest of the book and it also gives the reader something to think about before and while reading the book. .
             The poem "Ballad of the Hanged Men" was written by Francois Villon. He wrote the poem while in prison awaiting execution. In the poem Villon acts as though he were already executed and asking for forgiveness from his peers. In January of 1463 his sentence was changed from execution to exile from Paris, the events after this point in his life are unknown. The poem "Ballad of the Hanged Men" is about souls who are watching their bodies being displayed after a public execution. Villon is also imagining his soul trapped in a dead body but does not want to guess his soul's destination, his only hope will be God's forgiveness. .
             The vivid description of the dead and decaying bodies is an example of imagery used by Villon to horrify and move the reader. The description lends a sense of anxiety concerning the fate of the body and the ballad seems partially motivated by a simple horror of physical death and decay. However, in the poem Villon is also trying to show the idea that the death of the body is nothing compared to the death of the soul. .
             Death of his soul is Villon's greatest fear, and this ballad shows this with its pleas for mercy. The narrator shows sympathy for the suffering dead and shows most concern with the spiritual part of human existence and death. The final stanza of the poem is directly addressed to a higher power begging for "Prince Jesus" to "keep us from the tyranny of Hell" (Villon, lines 33-35) that Villon obviously fears. In "Ballad of the Hanged Men" Villon confronts the torment he risks after death. In this poem Villon discovers that the only chance for his soul and every other soul is prayer.

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