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Stock Punishment

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Dang it.

"Whoever shall be condemned to perpetual hard labour; to hard labour for time; or to solitary imprisonment; shall, before he undergo his punishment, be set in the pillory in the market-place, and shall remain there exposed to the view of the people for one hour; above his head shall be placed a label, containing, in large and legible characters, his name, profession, dwelling-place, his punishment, and the cause of his condemnation."
1810 French Penal Code, Article 23

A device in which a character has their legs (or arms) restrained and has foodstuffs, preferably rotten fruit or veggies, cream pies, wet sponges or something else in that line of thought thrown at them by members of the public. Alternatively, stocks can also be used for Tickle Torture.

Technically, "stocks" only restrain the legs; the more commonly-seen restraint that holds one's arms and head is called a "pillory". However, the latter is often referred to as "stocks" regardless of this distinction.

A point seldom touched on in fiction is that being pilloried could be seriously dangerous. People were allowed to throw things at your head, and you could neither dodge nor block them. If you were lucky they would only throw fruit and vegetables (even some of those can be dangerous; you try getting hit in the face with a turnip and see how harmless that would be). If you were unlucky (or unpopular), they'd throw stones at you instead. Or materials obtained from stable floors. And if you were really, really unlucky, it would be as bad as if you'd dropped the soap in a prison shower.


Often used in Come to Gawk.

Not to be confused with standard forms of punishment.


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    Comic Books 
  • In Tomahawk #92, the citizens of Wildcat's hometown place Tomahawk in the stocks as punishment for bringing the war to their pacifist village. This results in him almost being killed by a giant stone robot. (It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context).
  • In Justice League of America #214, the characters are in the pillories.
  • Unknown Worlds Issue #38, a character named Tom was placed in the pillory. Of course he was freed and was floats up to the air.
  • Worlds Finest Issue #186, Batman is placed in the pillory by Superman, who thinks he is a witch.
  • Mosaik 385 - Fire, Sausages and Scandal: Characters end up in the pillory

    Comic Strips 
  • The Wizard of Id had a peasant arrested for violating curfew. The King orders that he be made an example. Cue peasant looking unhappy in the stocks in the middle of the night, and then hauled (still in the stocks) before the King by his brainless minions for violation of curfew.
  • Tillie The Toiler: Tillie tries out a pillory as her John kisses her on the cheek. Of course she wants payback.
  • In Disney's comic stripsThe Adventures Of Robin Hood: The Sheriff of Nottingham places the pillory in town square, putting a poor rabbit prisoner in it. Thankfully he gets his comeuppance and gets tricked, getting stuck in it.
  • Garth Comic Strip - Dancing queen: Garth gets teleported into medieval times and in a pillory.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame uses this as a joke. There's an old man who is initially stuck in a cage, and then Esmerelda's fight with the guards sets him free. He triumphantly exclaims "I'm free! I'm free!" and trips on the cage bar and falls into the pillory. "Dangit!" In the climactic battle, he gets unintentionally set free... and then falls into a sewer. ("Dangit!")
  • Disney's Beauty and the Beast has a guy in these tipping his hat to Belle at the start of her "I Want" Song.
  • Robin Hood (1973): In the establishing scene of Nottingham, an owl is in the stocks for not paying his taxes while his wife feeds him soup from a spoon.
  • In Wolfwalkers, Sean Og is put in a pillory as punishment for complaining about the Lord Protector. Robyn is almost put in the stocks herself when she tries to convince the Lord Protector to free Mebh's mother (who's really a Wolfwalker).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A Knight's Tale has this happen to the main character while his friends try to defend him. Earlier in the film, there's a flashback to him as a young boy, watching the knights parade into the tournament grounds with his father. There's a man locked in the stocks right next to them, who advises young William that it would be easier for a man to change the stars themselves than for a peasant to grow up to be a knight.
  • Andersonville sees this Played for Drama after several survivors of an escape attempt are kept in stocks for several days. It is portrayed as demeaning and agonizing for them, and at least one man dies as a result.
  • The female lead in Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter is introduced in the pillory, a punishment for dancing on a Sunday. She does not appear to have had a good time of it.
  • In Up the Chastity Belt, there is a man in stocks in village square being pelted with vegetables. Sir Coward later sneaks around collecting the vegetables for dinner.
  • In the 1923 silent film Little Old New York, the heroine, who is pulling a Sweet Polly Oliver, sees someone getting punished this way. It makes her more afraid of getting caught.
  • Swashbuckler: After being captured at the customs house, Mr. Moonbeam is held in a pillory at the fortress. During the assault of the fortress, his pal Polanski uses his Stout Strength to bust him loose.
  • In The Pit and the Pendulum (1991), Esmeralda is locked in a pillory horizontally, so her torturers can pour water down her throat till she chokes.
  • Raining In The Mountain
    • Chiu Ming is introduced wearing a pillory board as he hikes up the mountain, having been framed by a corrupt official. Fortunately the official assigned to deliver him to the temple (who it's implied gave Chiu Ming the money so he could become a monk instead of being conscripted into the army) is decent enough to remove the board while no one else is in sight so he can rest.
    • When Ming stops Cheng from robbing the Scripture Hall and throws him out (literally), Cheng accuses him of assaulting an officer of the law. Ming is tied to the Scripture Hall as punishment, but White Fox and Gold Key free him during the night, with the covert approval of the Abbot.
  • The Raven (1963): Vincent Price's daughter, Estelle, is used for blackmail, putting her in the pillory and threatening to brand her if he doesn't give up the information to control minds. Also the poster shows Estella in the pillory too.
  • Army of Darkness: In the beginning of the film, Ash ends being in a portable pillory, with other prisoners in them being dragged by King Arthur's men.
  • Mad Wolf (1998): As a woman is stuck in the pillory, she is mocked by colonial soldiers, which includes daytime scenes and a nighttime scene.
  • ''Tower Of London (1962): A women is awaiting her torture in a pillory.
  • ''Starlet (1969): Allison Jordan (played by Shari Mann) is playing a pilgrim in a pillory, while getting whipped. Plus she gets left behind as the crew members leave the set.
  • Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine Annette Funicello makes a cameo in the film being in the film.

  • The Prince and the Pauper: The prince-as-a-pauper's friend, Miles, gets punished with these.
  • In the Aubrey-Maturin series, Captain Aubrey is pilloried after being set up for stock market fraud. The potential danger is made very clear but, lots and lots of his old shipmates turn up to cheer for him and look menacing at anyone who so much as thinks about throwing things. Manly Tears may have been involved.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Roose Bolton sentences women caught fraternising with the enemy to this, the sexual implications being not only explicit but his twisted idea of Laser-Guided Karma. This is just one of many horrific punishments in the series, yet it manages to stand out among the crowd. POV character reactions run the gamut from truly scared to almost blasé.
  • In the beginning of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo ends in one for attempting to kidnap Esmeralda on Frollo's orders in the night, and Esmeralda give him water while the mob is pelting him with rotten vegetables and other disgusting things.
  • In World War Z, the president proposed bringing back the stock punishment and public flogging since the United States is in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse and putting criminals in prisons would be highly impracticable. Since the United States needs to dedicate all its resources to rebuilding the nation and fighting off zombies, publicly humiliating criminals would be more effective in deterring crime.
  • Martín Fierro: This is a Narrative Poem about Martin Fierro, a Gaucho who is Press-Ganged into Conscription trying to Settling the Frontier. At song III, he describes various tortures the military use on the recruits as Villainous Demotivator, and this is one of them (its name is “La Estaca”).
  • In Aleksis Kivi's Seven Brothers, the brothers are threatened with this, after breaking the church warden's window and insulting the vicar.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Season 1 Episode 23 - The Crucible, there is a field trip to a Salem Witch Trial-themed village. At the end of the episode, the Alpha Bitch Libby ends up in the stock but does not get things thrown at her.
  • Bewitched: The season 7 episode "Samantha's Hot Bedwarmer" has Serena finding an old woman stuck in the pillory. She helps her by using her magic to release the lock by making it levitate.
  • ThatsSoRaven: Season 1 Episode 10, Ye Olde Dating Game, has A teacher in a jester costume ends up in the pillory, which includes the main character Raven. She manages to break free, but brings along with her and fights two jousting horsemen.
  • Blackadder The Third: Edmund invites Prince George to star in his new play, "Thick Jack Clot Sits in the Stocks and Gets Pelted with Rancid Tomatoes''. George naturally agrees enthusiastically.
  • Merlin- a bit of a Running Gag for the titular character- happens in the first episode when he picks a fight with Arthur, three times in one episode. The Children in Need scene naturally features it.
  • In an entirely serious example from the George III-era Very Loosely Based on a True Story Costume Drama Garrow's Law (coming soon to a US TV station near you...), William Garrow exposes Forrester, a professional "thief-taker" - basically a man who is paid to frame people up - as a perjurer. The judge sentences him to two hours in the stocks - a pillory in this case. He gets the rotten fruit treatment, then we see the grandmother of the boy he murdered as part of one such scheme pay the man who turned on him. The man then throws a rock...
    • A similar thing happened to Mother Needham, the notorious bawd, in Channel Four's drama-documentary of Hogarth's A Harlot's Progress.
    • Kind of Truth in Television. Unpopular people put in the stocks faced a real risk of being beaten to death by angry mobs. Some people even wore armor when in the stocks in order to avoid this.
  • The Bill. At a community fair someone suggests to Chief Superintendent Brownlow that it would be amusing for a couple of his officers to be placed in the stocks. The two officers with Brownlow try to vanish into the crowd, but they're not quick enough and get volunteered. Things become dangerous when some teenaged hoodlums who've previously had a run-in with these officers show up and start threatening violence, so the showman has to quickly let them out.
  • A sketch on You're Skitting Me has two convicts locked in the stocks. While one of them complains bitterly, the other goes on about how lucky they are to be in Australia and how he plans to work hard when he is released, buy some land and have his own set of stocks in his backyard so he can relax.
  • On The Last Man on Earth Several episodes had pillories, so they will be listed here.
    • Season 2 Episode 8 - No Bull: Phil #2 builds a pillory and uses it to punish Phil #1/Tandy. Later on it gets used on Todd, and eventually Phil #2 himself.
    • Season 2 Episode 18 - 30 Years of Science Down the Tubes: January Jones' character, Melissa ends up in one.
    • Season 3 Episode 1 - General Breast Theme with Cobras: Picking up from the season 2 finale, Melissa was eventually let out of the pillory.
    • Season 3 Episode 5 - The Power of Power: Carol was being hypocritical and apologized, thus putting herself in the pillory
  • Tony Robinson's Crime and Punishment was a documentary series in which Tony looked at the history of how the law worked and what happened if you broke it. Naturally, in one episode he gets pilloried.
  • "Mileaway", one of Ronnie Barker's scripts for The Two Ronnies, has Ronnie Corbett's character put in "the stocks" (as the stage directions point out, actually a pillory) overnight. The word "stocks" may have been chosen for scansion, since the character in question was speaking in iambic pentameter.
  • Dad's Army. In "A Man of Action", Private Pike gets his head stuck in some gate railings. The gate is removed with Pike still in it so he can be brought back to the hall, which leads to a Running Gag of people thinking Pike is undergoing Stock Punishment due to Captain Mainwaring having just declared martial law and acting like a petty dictator.
  • Thanks: Episode 1 has the youngest daughter in the pillory. Episode 2 has the Winthrops are put in stocks as punishment for going to a party.
  • A.N.T. Farm Season 2 Episode 9 - Contest ANTS: Chyne and Lexi get pied in the face to get partners for a contest.
  • Dwight in Shining Armor Season 3 Episode 5 - Just Deserts: Hexela and Baldric end up in the pillory thanks to an obsessed witch who is over Baldric. Thankfully he put her in her place by putting her in the pillory when he got out of his.
  • Tales from the Crypt Season 6 Episode 1 - Let the Punishment Fit the Crime: Catherine O'Hara's character, Geraldine ends up in the pillory in a dungeon, seeing flashes of people who she unintentionally killed.
  • Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In Season 3 Episode 13 and Episode 21 - Skits of two lades (Ruth Buzzi and Jo Anne Worley) are in the pillory together.
  • The Genie from Down Under Season 2 Episode 12 - Otto Rules OK: Penelope ends up in the pillory when confronting Otto, who has her Opal.
  • Salem
    • Season 1 Episode 1: A man and a women are in the pillory together, as a man gets branded.
    • Season 1 Episode 8: Apparently there is a deleted scene with Azure Parsons, Gloriana Embry, in the pillory. Only photos of it exist on the fan wiki.
    • Season 2 Episode 11: Marry ends up in the pillory. This also includes a man who had his wife killed.
    • Season 2 Episode 12: The man gets released from the pillory.
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Witches Are Sick Of You Saying 'Witch Hunt': A witch (Jen Spyra) is in the pillory and explains what a witch is.

  • Adam and the Ants "Whip in my Valise"
    You put my head into the stocks
    And then you, you went to choose a cane
  • Chris Hurn - Day of my Escape: "The music video portrays Chris as a ragged vagabond trapped in a pillory, situated in the middle of nowhere. While he attempts to escape, Chris is joined by four lost and embattled characters at crossroads." - Monkey Records
  • BRIXTN - Funpark: In the music video, there is footage of the singer in the pillory.
  • Khuri - Opposite Side: Again, parts of the video has singer in the pillory.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook Book of Vile Darkness has the pillory listed under torture devices. Every hour a victim spends pilloried in a public place, they suffer damage from passers-by tormenting and assaulting them.

    Video Games 
  • The title heroines of Beat Blades Haruka, Ikusa Otome Valkyrie, and Himekishi Lilia all get scenes in which they are locked in pillories and raped.
  • In the Translation Train Wreck game, Pokémon Vietnamese Crystal, sometimes when switching out Pokemon, the game will say "(Pokemon) HAVE A PILLORY." A pillory is pretty much the same things as stocks, implying that this might be happening to them. But it's so badly translated, who knows?
  • In The Sims Medieval sims can end up in the stocks from failing to complete responsibilities, stealing, or just because the player felt like it.
    • It's technically a pillory, but apparently because nobody knows that word anymore, they call it the stocks. (Sims' heads and hands are restrained, not their legs.)
  • LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean uses this to replace scenes where people were hanged in the movie.
  • In the Stronghold series, a pillory is one among the many devices of punishments the player can use where to send criminals both to punish and to gain prestige. It's actually the mildest punishment option available to you, only slightly hurting public opinion; everything else is an outright torture or execution method.
  • In Injustice: Gods Among Us, the victory animation for Sinestro has him making a Hard Light construct of one with his lantern ring, suspending his defeated opponent in the air with it.
  • The Gibbering Prophet of Darkest Dungeon was put in a stock to die of exposure or starvation in one of the many ways that the Ancestor tried to kill him. To this day, he wanders around in it, although he broke one of his arms free so he can hold his eyeballs.
  • Fallout 4's "Contraptions Workshop" DLC added a pillory item you can build in your allied settlements and put NPCs into. This means that they won't be gathering food or scrap or manning a store, but if one of your settlers keeps complaining, or blocking doorways, or nearly killed you during that skirmish with raiders, maybe they deserve to be in there.
  • Discworld: Two different pillory victims in two chapters, and the player frames a donkey to have it put in the pillory so he can snip hair from its tail.
  • What A Legend: Lana ends up in the pillory.
  • World of Warcraft: Worgen characters end up in one at the start of their initial questlines.
  • Ecstatica II: "Just as they arrive at the drawbridge, a winged demon flies by and kidnaps Ecstatica while the Prince is knocked unconscious by another winged demon, only to wake up and realized he has been put into the castle's pillory."
  • The Elder Scrolls Online Quest - False Accusations - Koeglin Village: "Dame Dabienne, who can be found in the stocks in the Koeglin Village Town Square, asks the Vestige for help. She is upset; Constable Pascal put her in the stocks, yet she claims she has not committed any crimes. The town was attacked by slavers, and he is accusing her of being involved." - The Elder Scrolls Wiki.

  • Bruno The Bandit often ended up in one of these - mostly when the judge had run out of Cool and Unusual Punishment for him.
  • Pieces Of Eights Session 5, Mary Anne Morgan gets locked up in the pillory. Brings it a long for a bit.
  • Sister Claire - Book 1 Chapter 7: Another accused witch is thrown in the pillory
  • Swords and Sausages
    • Chapter 5 Page 5 - A moose kneeling in the pillory is being pelted.
    • Chapter 8 Page 8 - Tor and Silver encounter two prisoners pilloried together.
    • Chapter 8 AMA #18 - Silver's mother is in the pillory.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons
    • Season 3 Episode 12 - I Married Marge: Homer ends up in the pillory for making crappy candles.
    • Season 9 Episode - 5 Treehouse of Horror VIII: First 11 seconds of that segment shows a man in the pillory.
    • Season 13 Episode 2 - The Parent Rap: did an odd version of this where Marge and Homer were deemed bad parents, and were forced to wear portable pillories 24/7 and then had additional punishments added onto such as standing next to a road while motorists spanked them as they drove by.
    Wiggum: Hey, no extension cords!
    • Season 17 Episode 18 - The Wettest Stories Ever Told: Homer ends up in a portable pillory.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Happens to Squidward in an episode where he reads Spongebob’s diary.
  • Trollz Episode 14 - Not-so-good Old Days: The story arc where the town was sent back to the Middle Ages. The girls were put in pillories. Among other things, croutons were thrown at them.
  • Used in KaBlam! Season 3 Episode 5 - Holdeth the Pickle, Holdeth the Lettuce: When Henry and June were visiting Colonial Williamsburg, and ended up in stocks at the end (I guess they were too nineties)
  • In an episode of What's New, Scooby-Doo? Season 2 Episode 11 - Large Dragon at Large: The gang goes to a ren faire, and Scooby and Shaggy get sentenced to the pillory. Fairgoers throw (fresh) food at them. Cue Scooby and Shaggy open their mouths wide and eat the food...
  • The Rocko's Modern Life episode "Camera Shy" features this on the title card, with a film clapboard used in place of actual stocks. Rocko is stuck inside it.
  • In Gravity Falls Stan tries to leave the yearly Pioneer Day, but an altercation with the police ends with him stuck in the stocks for most of the day.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode, "Lotsa Latkes", this was Doofenshmirtz's daily trap with Perry the Platypus; he found it in a book of top 10 greatest historical traps. Perry makes his way to Phineas and Ferb in the end still trapped in the stocks, which gives Ferb his one line of the episode.
    Phineas: What's Perry doing in a pillory?
    Ferb: Actually, those are stocks; a pillory forces the wearer to remain upright, exposing them to poking and prodding from passers-by.
  • Zeke's Pad: After making himself king in "King of the Pad", Zeke gets to put Ike in stocks – just for being critical of him.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In "Avatar Day", Aang is locked in a jail in a pillory. It's loose enough that he can slip out of it at will.
  • Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? Season 4 Episode 4 - Retribution Pt. 2: In Memoriam: The main cast get caught. They all end up in the Stocks and Pillory.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness Season 1 Episode 10 - Bad Po: Good Po and Shifu end up trapped in the pillory. However their escape was quite easy.
  • Kim Possible Season 4 Episode 13 - Cap N Drakken: Shego is placed in the pillory for going against Captain Drakken, who was currently possessed by a sword.
  • Animaniacs Season 1 Episode 62 - Scare Happy Slappy / Witch One / Mac Beth: Runt gets put in the pillory, but was freed by a horse.
  • Animaniacs2020
    • Season 1 Episode 7 - Warner She Wrote; France France Revolution; Gift Rapper, In France France Revolution short, the Warner-brothers end up in the pillory.
    • Season 2 Episode 7 - Yakko Amakko; The Longest Word; Happy Narfday!; Magna Cartoon, In Magna Cartoon has a king kneeling in the pillory during a musical number.
  • The Mask: In the Season 2 Episode 1 - A Comedy Of Eras, Stanley is accused of being witch and ends up in the pillory.
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog Season 1 Episode 1 - Super Special Sonic Search and Smash Squad: Tails gets pilloried.
  • ThunderCats (2011) Season 1 Episode 1: Two lizard critters in pillories.
  • Littlest Pet Shop (2012) Season 4 Episode 12 - Guilt Tripping: The beginning of the song of the episode, a girl is trapped in a pillory.
  • Ben 10 Season 3 Episode 3 - A Change Of Face: With Ben and Gwen switching bodies thanks to Charmcaster, they end up in the pillory while she prepares to steal Ben's body, and the Omnitrix with it. They get out thanks to some lotion in Gwen's back pocket.
  • Inspector Gadget Season 2 Episode 18 - Gadget's Clean Sweep: Has a kneeling pillory, made of what looks like metal. Penny ends up in it.
  • Total Drama Island: In "No Pain, No Game", the punishment for failing to complete a challenge or a challenger's victim completing the challenge, is to be put in a pillory. Only Leshawna and Eva escape said punishment.
  • King of the Hill Season 6 Episode 8 - Joust like a Woman: A female ends up in the pillory during the renaissance fair, and eventually Peggy.
  • Filmation's Ghostbusters Season 1 Episode 6 - Witches Stew: Futura ends up in the Salem witch trials and ends up in a pillory, accused for being, well, a witch.

    Real Life 
  • At least one Renaissance faire has one of these, in which fairegoers can buy a certain number of mushy tomatoes and throw them at the poor sod who gets paid to stand there. Fortunately, the poor sod in question is entitled to hurl as much verbal abuse upon the throwers as he likes.
  • Some BDSM "dungeons" feature these.
  • Napoléon Bonaparte reestablished pillory for some offenders, both as a consequence and as an autonomous penalty; this was legal until 1832.
  • Daniel Defoe was sentenced to pillory for seditious label by writing a book about the dissenters from the Church of England sarcastically advocating their extermination, ala A Modest Proposal; Subverted when the mob pelted him with flowers.
  • Gays were often victims of vicious treatment by the mob; for example, Ann Marrow, who disguised herself as a man and married another woman, ended up blinded by the stones thrown at her by a mob of women.
  • Pillory was a legal sentence in British Courts until 1837.
  • The last to have undergone this sentence was Peter James Bossy who, rather than serving a seven-year sentence of transportation, preferred the pillory.
  • Perjurer John Waller ended up in a pillory for lying to the courts and was stoned by a mob drawn from the parents of those he sent to the gallows.
  • Comedian Bobby Davro was put in a pillory for a joke at the end of his series Public Enemy Number One. This caused him a broken nose when the pillory fell over and there was nothing to stop him from falling face-first onto the studio floor. This is in Real Life rather than Live-Action TV because it wasn't televised, but it was filmed and the BBC used it in a health and safety video. He'd probably have been alright if Lionel Blair hadn't pulled his trousers down.


Futura In The Pillory

Filmation's Ghostbusters has a scene with a pillory.

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