The key question is how punishment operates to transform status distress into enjoyment. The chapter presents the two existing paradigms of enjoyment in Western philosophy – the Platonian relief of distress and the Aristotelian absorbed excitement – and discusses experiences of punishment which are better conceived along the lines of excitement, enthusiasm and abandon in the same selection of pre-modern cases. The eye-witness reports on popular enjoyment at the early-modern executions sites, in particular, are approached from two angles: from the contemporary discussion of the sublime awe and abandon and from latter-day discussions of carnivalesque excitement. Further, the chapter articulates an elemental formula on how punishment operates in the gap between desire and enjoyment, based on a reading of the master-and-slave dialectic. Unlike the Slave in Hegel’s tale, the institution is uniquely positioned to satisfy the desire for social esteem, as it enacts a world in the dimensions of order and morality. Punishment promises to satisfy the volatile desire for status recognition, at the same time as it provides enjoyment, by recognizing spectators as fully part of the community or, alternatively, through the excitement of taking part in collective self-assertion. The pleasure formula plays out differently depending on historical and social setting.