The Green Mile contains an intrinsic powerful statement against the use of the death penalty. However, this statement is not one that can be seen or heard directly. Instead, it lies beneath the surface of a seemingly simple story, hidden by the clever use of symbolism. .
Throughout the movie we witness three executions that take place in an electric chair. These capital punishment sequences have much power and significance. As the story progresses, we learn about each of the three characters and gain views on each of their executions. .
The first of the three executions was that of Arlen Bitterbuck’s, a native Indian. Arlen seemed a wise and astute man, and extremely sorry about the crime in which he had committed. His goodness and complete helplessness encouraged the viewer to feel sorry for him. Arlen represented impending death. .
The second of the three people to be executed, Eduard Del’ Delacroix, however, was quite dense and had the intelligence of a young child. He seemed reasonably quiet at the beginning of the story; his eyes and face expressions told more than his words. You couldn’t help but wonder about what kind of peculiar thoughts were wandering in and out of his head. Del’s true characteristics weren’t discovered until Mr Jingles entered the story. Mr Jingles was an unusually clever little mouse and became the centre of entertainment for Del. This was when Del showed his true personality and his seemingly harmless character was revealed.
Through discovering what these two prisoners were truly like, you begin to feel no hate or fear towards these supposed perpetrators of crime. When it came to the time of their executions, the role was reversed and they now looked like the victims, about to be affected by a crime. This crime being: the death penalty. .
The last of the three to be executed was John Coffey. From the moment we get a glimpse of his huge black feet, we are spell bound by this man.