Analysis of John Wayne Gacy’s Crimes Through Criminological Theories

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1204 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Apr 11, 2022

Words: 1204|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Apr 11, 2022

John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer better known as Pogo The Clown. At a young age, he lived through an abusive childhood that molded him into the likable clown everyone appeared to enjoy but little to be known about the devil himself behind the costume. Perceived to be a friendly person who loved to host parties for children's in his neighborhood. Gacy's means of obtaining pleasure through his mischievous act of committing numerous homicide's revolving in the attempt of understanding the personal and social variables that can lead to his criminality. The factors circling Gacy's murders and psychological factors may be of plausibility to contribute to his sexual sadism. In such, the application of criminological theories will be used to explain the motives of homicide, incorporating the frustration-aggression hypothesis and the self control theory.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

Understanding John Wayne Gacy's early childhood can help us comprehend the root cause of his homicidal intentions. As a young boy, Gacy suffered both mental and physical abuse from his father, John Stanley Gacy. It's known that Gacy's father was an alcoholic and was intensely disheartened in the lack of masculinity Gacy appeared to show. Gacy was born with a congenital heart condition, as a result, this grew tensions between Gacy and his father since now he was viewed as a failed child. Constant damage to Gacy's self-esteem was being created by his father in which sufferings and violence were all he experienced. Although his childhood experience seemed to develop confusion within his sexual identity, this caused Gacy to moved to Illinois to be married and have a family to hide his homosexuality. Through this development of concealment, Gacy surrendered to his true sexual identity once he's first crime was committed when he raped a young male (Navin, 2017). In which, he landed a conviction for 10 years in prison although served 18 months for good behavior. Through his time in prison, Gacy's dad passed away due to heavy drinking. In which, Gacy seemed to interpret as the humiliation his dad could have suffered because of his conviction for the sodomy of a teenage boy. The build of up of emotions was essentially the fueling into his rage for his sexual desire to grow more towards young boys. 

Once Gacy was released from prison, he chose to travel and reside in Chicago, beginning a new life where he became a thriving businessman through his construction company. A new chapter in his life where his disguise as a clown, results in a character where he can make his crimes a possibility. Gacy's form of creating this character enabled him to feel like a kid again said, in an interview. This allowed Gacy to become the devil himself, enticing young males to his house where he will rape and murder those he captured. The persona Gacy created, known as Pogo the Clown, granted him the necessary respect and trust from the locals. Gacy remained to murder innocent lives for six years, without drawing much suspicion because of his reputation established in his community. It began from 1972 to 1978 until he was caught and confessed that 33 young boys were raped and murdered (Navin, 2017). Understanding, John Wayne Gacy is truly one of the only ways to recognize major aspects of his psychological profile.

John Wayne Gacy was abused at an early age, by his father for his disability to adapt to regular boy's activities (Navin, 2017). Perhaps it signaled an attraction he developed due to his difference to other boys. A state of mind where the frustration begins to take place for being unable to meet his sexual desires. An event in his life where the frustration-aggression hypothesis can potentially explain this circumstance. The frustration-aggression hypothesis is a psychological explanation when a desire for attaining a goal becomes impeded through which a person then manifests antagonistic thoughts or actions that lead to aggressive behavior to obtain the goal. The molding of his character from experiencing frustration, primarily leads to the acceptance of his sexual identity to developing the early stages of aggressiveness. The rejection by his father caused Gacy to suppress his emotions and end up building aggression towards not achieving what he desired in other males..

Furthermore, the frustration-aggression hypothesis serves for an explanation into Gacy's reasoning of not acting all into aggression at the beginning due to factors that prevented him from doing so. Gacy's father's role in being violent and considering the perception behind homosexuality being a taboo in those times might have lead to distrust in unleashing his aggressiveness through his early developing stage of life. However, the frustration-aggression hypothesis explains that an individual would start to display his aggressiveness once it begins to realize there are no restrictive factors, in obtaining the desired need (Fox et al., 2012). The moment Gacy's wife divorced him he felt no factors were holding him back anymore that's when he began to intent on his aggressive behavior. The self-control theory contributes to the manner of how a person's path to crime is measured in the salience of societal bonds. Gacy, lack of impulse control can further explain the self-control theory in acknowledgment of the inadequacy of limitations that refutes the determination to kill in the event of murder. Gacy's salient bonds to his family were greater than the desire to murder. Once it collapsed, the motivation and need for self-control were lessened and now free in desire for aggression to obtain his needs.

Pogo the Clown, homicides are motivated by his sexual desires in young boys. His motivation in luring young males to his house so he can rape and later kill shows signs of psychosexual aggression (CHAN et al., 2009). Gacy's sexual sadism can be the development of his reasoning behind every young teenage boy he targeted. ' Individuals who engage in sadistic fantasies yearn to obtain psychological gratification that is sexually motivated'. This essentially shows the connection behind Gacy's motives in achieving sexual release and the enticing of raping and torturing those he held captive. The psychological means in predicting the probability of a crime becomes categorized into three factors. An attractive target, the absence of a capable protector, and the existence of a motivated offender. This shows to be an explanation for his specific criminal actions and motives by fulfilling his sexual desires in such ways that his inability to show remorse allowed him to continue until he was caught.

Get a custom paper now from our expert writers.

Being a young son to an abusive father brought much psychological stress and damage to Gacy. The infliction of pain and suffering through his father's actions made Gacy become a way we can only understand by applying certain theories and explanations behind his criminal actions. All of Gacy's murders were analyzed involving sexual sadism, self-control, and frustration-aggression hypothesis. The lack of remorse Gacy had for his actions shows the inability for him to put himself in his victim's perspective. The overjoy of his sexual desires, mental and physical abuse ultimately caused him to be blind to his actions and damage he inflicted upon others. The concealing of his sexual identity and damaged personality through his abusive childhood made Gacy create an identity where he portrayed himself as a clown to avoid all implicit bias that could have targeted him as a serial killer. 

Image of Dr. Oliver Johnson
This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Oliver Johnson

Cite this Essay

Analysis Of John Wayne Gacy’s Crimes Through Criminological Theories. (2022, April 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“Analysis Of John Wayne Gacy’s Crimes Through Criminological Theories.” GradesFixer, 11 Apr. 2022,
Analysis Of John Wayne Gacy’s Crimes Through Criminological Theories. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 May 2024].
Analysis Of John Wayne Gacy’s Crimes Through Criminological Theories [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Apr 11 [cited 2024 May 26]. Available from:
Keep in mind: This sample was shared by another student.
  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours
Write my essay

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled


Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Get Your
    Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!
    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now