The Idiot Part 1 Chapter 2 Page 27

the whole punishment is, not the bodily pain at all — but the certain knowledge that in an hour, — then in ten minutes, then in half a minute, then now — this very instant — your soul must quit your body and that you will no longer be a man — and that this is certain, certain! That’s the point — the certainty of it. Just that instant when you place your head on the block and hear the iron grate over your head — then — that quarter of a second is the most awful of all.

“This is not my own fantastical opinion — many people have thought the same; but I feel it so deeply that I’ll tell you what I think. I believe that to execute a man for murder is to punish him immeasurably more dreadfully than is equivalent to his crime.