Justice vs Mercy

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Justice is the most fundamental requirement of a properly functioning, civilized society. An unwavering system of cause and effect that apply to all members is exactly what human beings need to ensure peaceful living. As the events and characters of Shakespeare’s King Lear clearly indicate, mercy is extremely important in dealing with problems in society, but justice should be the standard by which people are governed in dealing with crimes, however harsh it may seem. Man needs to fear the consequences of his actions because if there are no undesired repercussions, he will follow his baser desires to no limit. When there is a strict system of justice in place that applies to all members of society, fewer crimes will be committed as a result of public punishments. Also, there is a system of karma that we already see in place. If justice is not served by the law, some form of justice comes around to the perpetrator from a higher power. Therefore, in dealing with crimes in society as a whole, the use of justice should dominate the use of mercy. I believe that human nature is to be content with virtue. However, there is also a part of us that is desirous of evil. It is that lower, deeper part of our desires that gives us pleasure in doing things that we know are harmful to ourselves and those around us. Most people will tell you they follow a certain moral conduct because of the virtue of their character, but only a certain percentage of those people actually speak the truth. The rest, only do so for fear of consequences. This is exactly the reason why people behave well in front of others, while they do many undesirable things when they are alone. If there is no fear of the legal repercussions of one’s actions, the majority of the population will not be able to control that inner monster who is only satiated with evil and destruction. As Albany, the son-in-law of King Lear so eloquently puts it: “If that the heavens do not their visible spirits | Send quickly down...
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