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A Critical Analysis of The Murder Spree by Charles Manson

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Kairos of the 60’s: The Manson Family Murders


In regards to the murders of the Manson Family, the only one to be focused on is Charles Manson. The “family members” that were involved in these murders were simply followers, blindly going with the flow. Charles Manson, he said in court, was attempting to elicit a race war that he felt was predicted and called upon by the Beatles song, Helter Skelter. He was a white supremacist that tried to make the murders look like they had been committed as an African American hate crime in an attempt to illicit a reaction of violence from the white communities. Manson’s crimes happened around the time of a racial reform that was shaping the nation, and as a white supremacist, did not approve of the movements towards racial equality happening during this time period. Manson still sought after white privilege and the segregation & oppression of the African American population, he believed that the staging of his crimes would give this back to him as a race war fought on.


The 60’s were a time of racial reform in which white supremacists were attempting to suppress the African American population and the African Americans were rebelling the racist regime that reigned over the nation. Charles Manson, a white supremacist, was very influenced by the situation, along with the song Helter Skelter, and staged the Tate & LaBianca Murders to look like African American racial crimes to elicit a race war from the local, then the national, an eventually the world’s population. The swastika tattooed on his forehead made his motives very clear to the court room and the nation. After being caught he did not deny his crimes, but tried to justify them with the ideas of a mad man. He stated that he was not to blame for these crimes, but the country was, he explained in the court room that he was simply a reflection of what the country had made him, nothing more or nothing less. He talked about this country of violence and how it shaped him.

Audience (Pathos)

Manson’s decision to stage the murders as racial hate crimes were done to illicit an emotional upheaval from both the Caucasian and the African American populations and to start a race war. The phrases “Death to Pigs” and “Helter Skelter” were written on the walls to appear as if an African American group had targeted Sharon Tate, as a prominent and wealthy Caucasian actress, to start this race war. The audience of the crime was meant to be African Americans and Caucasian Americans in the area, and then the nation, equally. He meant to illicit a cry of outrage from Caucasians for the execution of one of their own by African Americans and meant to illicit a cry of outrage from African Americans for the blame of the murder and for what would be done to them after the Caucasians found them to blame for the Tate murder. If remained uncaught, Charles Manson may have actually gotten what he wanted.

Argument (Ethos)

Manson’s charisma & persuasion were a vital part of recruiting members of the Manson family, he gave youth who were rebelling against their parents and who were rebelling against the government a place to call home and a person to call “father.” They followed his teachings and his actions as law and obeyed his every command. They saw him as a man of wisdom, leadership, and respect, and so they followed him. He led them down his path of teachings, influencing their thoughts on race, white privilege, and the oppression of the government. They listened with enthusiasm and allowed themselves to be led by a mad man. While some members of the Manson Family, if not all, were fully aware of what they were doing they still followed, believing Charles Manson to be a great man with a vision of the future.

Argument (Logos)

From a person of sound mind, it would seem that there was absolutely no logic behind the Tate & LaBianca murders, but to someone like Charles Manson there were likely many logical factors behind doing what he did. As a white supremacist, the actions served to dirty the names of the African American population. As the psychopath that he is, the actions he committed probably had many different logical reasonings. He may have used the twisted logic in his mind to justify the murders to anyone in the “family” who questioned him, if they did at all. He definitely used the song Helter Skelter to justify his actions, taking the lyrics as prophesy, and used his beliefs as a white supremacist to finalize his actions in the kairos of the era.


“From the world of darkness I did loose demons and devils in the power of scorpions to torment.” As Charles Manson stated, he released this evil into the world and he left it to do damage as the world moved on away from his jail cell. Everyone today still knows the name Charles Manson as notorious, countless people from serial killers to musicians have been influenced in one way or another by Charles Manson and the Manson Family murders. His actions took place in a time of racial turmoil as to illicit a race war, and while he did not succeed, his point was still understood. He became a killer for the ages, feared by all, revered by some, and still worshiped by a small few who joined him in prison for life.

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A critical analysis of the murder spree by Charles Manson. (2018, December 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 6, 2021, from
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