Here we see Goya portraying a scene without details that would allow us to identify precisely the protagonists involved - those about to be hung might well be Spaniards accused of collaborating, or they might be Frenchmen. The figure of the friar, with his grotesque face exhorting the others, makes clear Goya's attitude towards the clergy. It is also a prime example of the mordant humour that informs the short, pithy titles attached to each image.
The foul-biting between the top two rungs of the ladder is the result of the plate having been used previously. A war-time shortage of copper forced Goya to cut up a large plate upon which he had etched Landscape with a Great Rock and a Waterfall (H. 24), and to use the reverse of one half for this composition.