Justice in an unjust world

King Lear provides the reader with an interesting story that poses the intriguing question of right vs wrong and justice vs injustice. Throughout the story, we are taught to think of King Lear as a cold, selfish, and narcissistic human that has brought negative deeds upon himself. However, when King Lear is left out to die in a storm by his daughters, we are left to question whether this was just or morally acceptable, despite all of his harmful and atrocious previous acts. The question of right vs wrong and justice vs injustice spans way past the confines of 1606 and is as relevant as ever in 2021 as the entire world is fighting for its soul. James Baldwin once said, “ignorance, allied with power is the more ferocious enemy justice can have”. As I think about Trump’s acquittal in the senate, China’s Xinjiang internment camps, and read about the betrayal of King Lear, I can’t help but think that ignorance, driven by hate, is leading to injustice and hatred winning in the war against righteousness and justice worldwide. “Justice” is an ideal that aims to lead people into a more righteous and fair world, however, when it is met with hatred and ignorance it can sometimes be overpowered. Martin Luther King Jr once said that “The arch of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”. However, I don’t know if I believe it. There has not been a time in this world where humans have not taken advantage of others and used them for their own personal gain. While I do believe that humans, for the large part, have the ability to think empathically and morally, our instinct to want more tends to lead us to be forever unsatisfied and thus take more by whatever means necessary. While I hope that justice will prevail in all matters, the past combined with how little time we seem to have left in the future, leads me to not be too optimistic about righteousness and justice making a comeback in the war it is so badly losing.

2 thoughts on “Justice in an unjust world

  1. Zach B

    Really solid piece, and you draw a great comparison. Lear is more prevalent in today’s day and age than many think. So much can be taken away from the passage and applied.


  2. Zoe H

    I really appreciated this take on the play. I agree that it is hard to be hopeful or believe in justice (as clichéd as that sounds). You bring up a solid point that I think is pertinent so social justice – that sometimes it feels like efforts are wasted if humanity will always be cruel 😦


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