Torture is a vast and complex phenomena that spreads across countless societies and time-periods, having long been used as a tool for both misguided "good" and unredeemable evil.
Torture (also called torment) has claimed the lives of untold victims across the world and scarred many more, it is also a device that appears many times in fiction - the use of torture was once considered an acceptable and even honorable thing but in the modern world people who utilize torture are seen as brutal, sadistic and criminal.
This, of course, does little to stop tyrannical regimes or terrorists from utilizing torture and many of these groups find the fear torture inspires to be benefitial in their overall plans - criminals also utilize torture quite often either to intimidate rivals or for personal enjoyment.
A fictional character who utilizes torture is very likely to of fallen into a Moral Event Horizon and risks being seen as a Complete Monster - however torture is so widespread that many heroes in darker media have also utilized it but somehow avoid being labelled as monsters (a good example would be the Punisher, who tortures and kills his enemies - however the audience often see him as a hero due to his enemies being far worse than himself).
Many villains who commit their crimes "for the evulz" utilize torture - which provides them with the malicious "kick" they so often desire.
Torture can even be found in parody fiction or comedy - though they are often very mild compared to the torture found in darker fiction (for example, tickling and so forth).
Although feared by many characters some deluded or perverted characters enjoy torture and may seek it out - some characters (such as the Joker) can not be easily tortured as they enjoy the pain.
Torture can be roughly put into two main categories:
- Physical (designed to break the victim through physical pain)
- Psychological (designed to drive a victim insane (sometimes regarded as worse than Physical Torture) )
TORTURE METHODS (Physical)
- Thumb Screws <intimidation - death rare>
- The Rack <intimidation - death could occur>
- Iron Maiden <intimidation - death could occur>
- Flogging <disciplinary - death rare>
- Keelhauling <disciplinary - death could occur>
- Bronze Bull <execution method>
- Crucifixion <execution method>
- Stoning <execution method>
- Skull Crusher <torture but results in death>
TORTURE METHODS (Psychological)
- Chinese Water Torture
- Solitary Confinement
- Tar and Feathering