King Lear: Justice Or Mercy

1162 Words5 Pages
Justice is the principle of moral rightness and equity. It restores order and prevents chaos; it leads to safety and peace. Justice is overwhelmingly important, because a world without justice would be much disorganized. However, achieving justice is not a simple task. William Shakespeare’s King Lear is a brutal play, filled with human cruelty and madness. It starts with the state of order and control and ends in meaningless disaster and chaos. The play’s series of terrible events raises an obvious question - is there any possibility of justice in the world, or whether the world is fundamentally uncaring or even hostile to humankind. a) In Shakespeare times, society believed that if people are not punished for their crimes, they will go to commit them. Justice is an imperative tool to keep the civilization safe and orderly. Without a system of justice, society would fall into the anarchy, filled with pain and violence. The quality of life would be poor and people would live in fear and uncertainty. The shocking violence of Act 3, where Cornwall and Regan blinded Gloucester, is an example of brutal and cruel act, for which Cornwall and Regan should be severely punished. Some people use their power in a wrong way, and commit crimes because they want even more power that they already have. The blinding act marks a turning point in the play, because some actions like cruelty, betrayal, and even madness may be reversible, but blinding is not. Gloucester reflects the profound despair that drives him to desire his own death, after being blinded by Cornwall and Regan, “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport” (4.1.37–38). More important, he emphasizes one of the play’s principal themes, the question of whether there is justice in the universe. Gloucester’s philosophical musing here offers an outlook of miserable despair, he
Open Document