Of Justice In William Shakespearer, Hamlet, And Thomas Hardy's King Lear

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William Shakespeare’s King Lear, Hamlet, and Thomas Hardy’s Mayor of Casterbridge each examine both the search for and the effects of justice. King Lear is a case study of a failed monarch and his remorse for not having been a better king. Hamlet tasks a teenage boy with avenging his father's death, prompting questions about morality and righteousness. The Mayor of Casterbridge is a man’s attempts to reconcile his shortcomings with what he feels is right. Tragically, in each of these works the search for justice, or the character's flawed understanding of it, is ultimately unsuccessful, resulting in injustice towards others. King Lear is defined by the figurehead monarch’s quest for what he sees as justice for himself. After Goneril and Regan betray him by refusing to house his nights, King Lear calls upon the heavens avenge him and punish his daughters with a storm. “O heavens,” he implores, “If you do love old men, if your sweet sway Show obedience, if you yourselves are old, Make it your cause. Send down, and take my part” (2.4.217-220). These lines, uttered in the raw emotion of a man who feels wronged by those he loves, are representative of Lear’s temper and distress when things don’t go his way. His daughters’ perceived insult to him spurs a helpless call for justice from the gods, a justice Lear no longer can carry out because he has divested himself of power. Lear’s inability to forcefully delve justice This hearkens back to his overhasty reaction towards Cordelia

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