• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

If Justice is relative, depending on personal point of view, how can it be Justice?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"If Justice is relative, depending on personal point of view, how can it be Justice?" In the light of this comment, how do you find justice presented in 'King Lear'? The fate of the characters in the tragedy 'King Lear' (based on their natures) raises doubts about whether poetic justice or lawful justice is well served. Mostly human justice is flawed by human nature itself, being easily influenced by wealth, power and jealousy, resulting in injustice and evil. Shakespeare portrays in 'King Lear' a strong belief in divine justice. As revealed when Edgar states: "the gods are just, and of our pleasant vices make instruments to plague us" suggesting that the 'pleasant vices' their humanity possesses blocks the path of virtue, so that the evil we cause turns against us. Thus, unless humans choose to live virtuously - given free will - justice will never prevail. This is acceptable though the 'Gods are just' aspect becomes questionable. The misuse of justice is witnessed by those in positions of power asserting their authority which is tainted by the foibles human nature. At the start of the play, King Lear imposes a love test where each daughter has to profess her love in the most elaborate manner in order to receive the largest share of his kingdom: "Which of you shall we say doth love us the most. ...read more.

Middle

Surely the punishment of plucking eyes out is indifferent- as according to the 'form of justice' Gloucester shouldn't have been punished at all. Thus justice appears as a play of custom for such act lays within pleasure vices the powerful take. Gloucester is easily seen as a victim of unjust as he prepared to suffocate for Lear. His honest nature would not let him stand aside and watch "[Regan's] cruel nails / Pluck out [Lear's] poor old eyes". This is shockingly portrayed as Cornwall suggests that their power can alter "form of justice": "yet our power shall do a courtesy to our wrath". The play employs poetic justice to all evil characters in the play. Yet King Lear and Gloucester suffocated more than evildoers as consequence of their misjudgments, which can be seen as harsh justice at work. "Was this a face to be oppressed against warring winds?" laments Cordelia having rescued her father from the vicious storm and wild surviving. Edgar confronts Edmund: "The dark and vicious place where thee he got. Cost him his eyes". This confrontation by both Cordelia and Edgar of their fathers' fate implies that they believe it is harsh form of justice served to them. Their forgiveness, despite rejection from their fathers in the start of the play, reflects their explicit goodness. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lear calls the powerful to "feel what the wretches feel". Both of those characters are exploring their humanity to 'feel for others' rather than self pity in their suffocating survival. In effect they have achieved wisdom though only in extreme suffering had they chosen to realise. Shakespeare thus shows that humans are capable of restoring human justice if they choose to think beyond themselves and particularly when they are free of vices. Cordelia's death can be viewed as a sacrifice to eliminate her father's sins in biblical perspective. Assuming that Shakespeare intended her justice to be served in heaven, poetic justice to most characters portrays that the play employs some justice. However Shakespeare seems to emphasize the effect of choices humans take over their free will. The justice served seems to agree with Edgar's statement: "our pleasant vices make instruments to plague us" as even Gloucester, whom we see as a victim of flawed human justice, had actually committed adultery which reasons to his fate. Lear, Edmund, Cornwall, Oswald, Goneril and Regan who had committed to some form of vice have all served with 'cup of their deserving' referring to Albany's comment. The play could not have absolute justice served due to too many flaws in human justice and brutality. Albany and Edgar become new agents of justice at the end of the play showing that free will can overcome darkness and restore the light. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level King Lear section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level King Lear essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The influence Act 1 has on the rest of the play in King Lear

    3 star(s)

    More tragic forces are explored on stage as Regan and Goneril are fighting for their own part of the land, and therefore power in King Lear's love test, Regan says 'Which the most precious square of sense possesses. And find I am alone felicitate in your dear highness' love'.

  2. With particular reference to Act 1, Scene 1, show how Shakespeare presents the character ...

    It is clear to the audience that Lear thinks very highly of himself, and one particular technique that Shakespeare uses is a metaphor/imagery: "Come not between the dragon and his wrath". In this line, Lear is referring to himself as the dragon; a symbol of royal power, and something to be feared greatly.

  1. To What Extent Can King Lear Be Described as the Tragic Hero of Shakespeares ...

    as the audience is beginning to feel sympathy for Lear, is Shakespeare reminding us that he wouldn't be in this position in the first place if it wasn't for his 'tragic flaw'. From here, Lear's madness deepens. 'Lear's mind reflects the disorder in his kingdom' (ICS course material).

  2. King Lear, Femininity and Female Disorder

    King Lear frequently makes reference to the ague. He states that he is not "ague-proof" (Act IV, Scene IV, L.119) meaning that he is not without short-coming, fallibility or fault. The ague or malaria is actually a fever spread by the female anopheles mosquito most common in Lear's day and so it is a female inflicted disease used to illustrate the moral ills of man.

  1. Explore the ways in which Shakespeare presents the characters of Goneril, Regan and Cordelia ...

    If the audience was not sure about how Goneril feels about her father, this scene certainly proves that she loathes her father. " I will not speak with him." She is very clear about about her decisions. She lies to her father through her servant giving the order " say I am sick."

  2. Explore the ways in which Shakespeare presents the characters Goneril Regan and Cordilia in ...

    She is not ambitious and treacherous like her two sisters, and Shakespeare's unbalanced equation of two evils and one good emphasizes this point dramatically. The unjust is brought upon the just as Lear disowns Cordilia and gives her nothing letting 'her honesty be her dower'.

  1. The Nature of Redemption and the Limits of Pessimism in King Lear

    Such a definition is offered at the very end of Shakespearean Tragedy: Let us renounce the world, hate it, and lose it gladly. The only real thing in it is the soul, with its courage, patience, devotion. And nothing outward can touch that.

  2. Describe your view of Shakespeares depiction of the three sisters. What impression do you ...

    It is somewhat difficult to distinguish Gonerill and Regan as individuals, as they share a common aspiration to power and indifference to the brutality of the means to which they can obtain it; Gonerill herself affirms: ?[My sister?s] mind and mine I know in that are one?.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work