What does a death by hanging say about Lane Pryce?
In hanging-by-government, the length of the rope and the fall has determined standards that all but guarantee a man will break his neck during his last plummet on earth. In most homegrown cases, however, a person who has hanged himself will not break his neck, usually because the rope is too short or the fall not sharp enough. In these cases, the man will merely strangle to death.
After what is hopefully a mercifully short time, the man will pass into unconsciousness and then expire. From the furrows in Lane’s neck, he seems to have used a rather strong cord, leading to those unsightly bloody gouges and protruding tongue that confront our SCDP folk with the singularity drawing near.
What else did we notice from our friends’ reactions? A certain indication of olfactory unpleasantness, resultant from a hanged body’s evacuation of the bowels upon descent.
Why did Lane hang himself instead of other possibly less grisly options? There’s a rich literary history perhaps the old British schoolboy in him couldn’t resist:
The Greeks had a storied tendency to hang their heroes, for one thing. (And to take their lives thusly in real life, as well.) Sophocles, in his take on the classic heroine Antigone, sent her off to a death by hanging, replete with righteousness:
"When I have suffered my doom, I shall come to know my sin; but if the sin is with my judges, I could wish them no fuller measure of evil than they, on their part, mete wrongfully to me."
Perhaps that’s what leaving that resignation letter was: a gesture of spite to his judges. The effluvia served that purpose well, too!
We’ve had a palpation toward suicide for the whole season, as discussed inter alia. Remember Don’s little drawing on his notepad from earlier this season (pictured above)? It certainly set the tone for the season. In any case, we know exactly why Don reacted so badly to Lane’s hanging. Poor Adam Whitman.
In the end, maybe Lane hung himself simply because it is the most handily available form of suicide. Virgil referred to hanging as “the coil of unbecoming death.” Making Lane’s body not the only one with an unfortunate visage, clearly.
RIP, Mr. Pryce. I remember seeing a preview in the New York Times for the upcoming season describing our vaunted firm as Sterling Cooper Draper Bryce. Poor thing.
*Footnote by Natasha Simons