The Themes Of Justice And Injustice, By William Shakespeare

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Justice and injustice are themes that occur frequently in William Shakespeare's plays, but defining justice and injustice can be very tricky. Justice can be defined, for example, as "the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals" or "the quality of being just, impartial, or fair" (Merriam-Webster 2016b). Injustice, on the other hand, can be defined as "a situation in which the rights of a person or a group of people are ignored", "violation of right or of the rights of another", "unfairness" or "wrong" (Merriam-Webster 2016a). Moreover, John Rawls defines justice as the most important virtue of societal institutions (Rawls 1971: 15). He also discusses that justice is the basis for ideal society, but notes…show more content…
It has been written approximately in 1604 (Measure for Measure: vii). In Measure for Measure, a man named Claudio is sentenced to death by Lord Angelo for impregnating Juliet, his fiancé, outside of marriage. Lord Angelo is the temporary leader of Vienna who was left in charge of the town by Duke Vincentio. The Duke pretends to leave Vienna, but in fact disguises himself as a friar to observe the town. Angelo thinks there is too much freedom in Vienna and wants to clean up the town of illegal brothels and enforce strict sex laws. (Measure for Measure) Macbeth is a play also written by Shakespeare. It has been written approximately in between 1599-1606 (Macbeth: xiii). The play is set mostly in Scotland and tells the story of a man named Macbeth who receives a prophecy from the Three Witches that one day he will be the King of Scotland. Macbeth murders King Duncan and this way becomes the king. He then becomes a tyrannical leader of Scotland and is consumed by guilt that eventually grows into madness.…show more content…
I will use egoism, utilitarianism, virtue ethics, social contract theory, and deontology to analyze the plays. Aspects of the divine command theory and moral relativism are discussed as well. Egoism can be divided into two theories, psychological egoism and ethical egoism. Psychological egoism claims that altruism is impossible and therefore people always act in their self-interest (Rachels 2003: 63). Ethical egoism, however, argues that "each person ought to pursue his or her own self-interest exclusively" (ibid: 77). The higher the self-interest, the morally right one's action is. If one does not act in their self-interest, the action is morally wrong. (Lehtonen 2016b) Utilitarianism, on the other hand, claims that the consequences of an action play a significant role. In utilitarianism, actions are judged based on their consequences, and the only thing that matters is the amount of happiness or unhappiness the consequences cause. If the consequences of an action cause happiness, the action is morally right, and vice versa.
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