One way to look at justice in the contemporary world is to think of it from religious texts. The natural rights theory sees human beings as possessing certain moral rights for liberty, life and property.
What can happens if people violate these moral rights? Does the aggrieved party have the right to revenge as a way of soliciting for justice on his or her part? The paper explores the answers to these questions by presenting the meaning of justice and vengeance in the contemporary world as set out in the films To Kill a Mocking Bird, Hamlet and The Stoning of Soraya, as well as the New York Times article Justice? Vengeance? You need both.
People’s exercise for their fundamental rights ought to have a limitation in case they turn out to violate other people’s rights. Perhaps this brings vengeance justice into perspectives.
Is the believe eye for an eye morally right? Should people have permission to take the law in their own hands? The legal justice is somewhat largely inadequate. According to Rosenbaum, another inadequacy of the legal justice lies within its “outright failures” (1). However, advocating for vengeance justice may introduce many constraints especially leading to injustices especially on the wrongdoers’ part.
This is particularly significant since emotions and feelings, which lack substantial evidence, more often control and propel revenge. Consequently, the alleged wrongdoer lacks the right for a fair hearing. This is perhaps why “the government warns the citizens not to take justice into their own hands, insisting that the state alone has the duty and the right to punish wrongdoers-pursuit to the social contract” (Rosenbaum 1).
However, application of this warning makes people largely discontented. For example, what would wrongdoers such as the man admitting to have intentionally murdered 76 people, many of them being children, deserve? Many would at this point proclaim a death sentence.
One can think of justice as the state of conferring one what had been deprived of hi/her to restore the grieved party to state that he or she could have been initially. However, one wonders whether 76 lives can equal to one life. Consequently, revenge does not necessary mean the achievement of justice.
People have different perceptions as to what constitutes ample moral justice in the contemporary world. According to Rosenbaum, the actual difference between vengeance and justice is not significant as people think” (1).
The variation of the distinctions between time and space is as valid as cultures. Some of these concerns are more often evident in the literarily works of different genres ranging from poetry, short stories, autobiographies, films and novel among others. A good example of these genres includes Killing a mocking bird, Hamlet and Soraya.
Produced by Alan Pakula and Directed by Robert Mulligan, Killing a mocking bird is a peculiar cinema masterpiece set within Alabama town. In particular, the movie raises interrogatives on issues pertaining to justice. This setting is perhaps eloquent since the film reflects the depression that existed in Alabama.
Its main themes and subthemes conform to the themes contained in the book killing a mocking bird, which forms the basis of the movie. The director addresses issues such as poverty amongst some segregated members of the society. The situation is even aggravated by the eminent racism instance raised by the film. Watching the film compels the audience to think of the priory discussed morality principles whether religiously constructed or based on philosophical theories (Fox and DeMarco 23).
Perhaps congruent with these two theories, the film makes it clear that the main function of ensuring justice is to enhance equality of all members of the society irrespective of their religious inclinations or their racial characteristics. In this context, justice in the contemporary world needs to foster the achievement of magnificent good to the wider society. This leads to the utilitarian view of moral justice.
Atticus Finch, a black man, assaults a white girl. Though innocent, Finch is entrenched through a myriad of racial power paradigms evident in the old south coupled with harsh taboos guarding the society against interracial sex. Worse still, the white girl’s family is full of modest racial pride that is even aggravated more by violence nature of the family.
Atticus Finch’s children are hounded in school with the chief reason being that their father is involved in raising defense against a black man. Additionally, the children can only listen to the proceedings of hearing from a balcony within the courtroom specifically reserved for the black people. As the case proceeds, the children along with their father face real danger.
The duo story lines happen to meet at some common juncture: exacerbation of injustices, as the film story hits climax. Peck (Finch) emerges as an enormous hero who, irrespective of the tough and challenging encounter, devotes himself to the course of what is strictly right and sound. As Boeder reckons, “he is intelligent and modest, a soft spoken man of unquestionable integrity devoted to the cause of justice” (Para.5).
The movie gives a subtle capacity of innocence to enhance the conversion of evil to right. However, it appreciates that true moral justice is a tricky and challenging ideal that is often hard to realize in the contemporary world: sometimes not possible to realize. Somewhat most sentimental call in the movie is that placed to the “better angels of our nature” (To Kill a Mocking Bird Mulligan). In terms of justice, the movie gives an insight of where people ought to target though they may fail to strike the real target.
Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the film Hamlet forms one of the amazing screenplays, which accomplishes its purpose of pinpointing some societal disparities in according moral justice in the contemporary world. The film predominately dwells on issues such as love and sex, madness, revenge, ghosts, politics among other things. All these central concerns are either figurative or else real. However, the mode of telling these concerns is so humorous that the audience sticks to the screen with laughter.
The central themes of the film Hamlet cut across the various dilemmas that face people on a daily basis such as love and sex. In this context, it would serve to uphold the spirit of justice, if all the decisions for people to subscribe to whatever one wishes in terms of whom to love or even what to politic, are left on the person in question (Resnik 57). In this context, justice takes the twist for ensuring that people have the freedom of choice.
This perhaps makes the audience reflect on the natural rights theory in which human beings have certain moral rights that they must strictly respect if justice is to prevail within the society. The film incorporates phrases such as “The lady doeth protest too much” and “To be, or not to be, that is the question” (Hamlet Branagh).
This makes the audience contextualize existence of some biasness in the way some genders have responsibilities that make other people refer them as the “superior gender” in the gender insensitive world. Arguably, these insensitivities raise alarms for the likely hood of moral injustices that prompt the existence of inequalities.
On the other hand, Soraya immensely addresses and raises alarms for the eminent humanity dissonance within the societal platforms. Zahra has an ample story to narrate to Friedoune. Soraya, Zahra’s niece, goes through a challenging relationship propagated by her husband Ali. Ali seeks for a divorce so that he can have all his time with a much younger woman.
Although, Ali is fully aware that Soraya has remarkably little income, not enough to cater for the four children, he is not a bothering type. To make the matter worse, some false charges are raised against Soraya, bringing her infidelity into introspection (The Stoning of Soraya Nowrasteh).
The film sheds slight on flagrant mishandling of affairs of women that make them denied of justice. Accordingly, justice means ending the deprival of justice. Otherwise, calls for revenge would mean extending the unjust acts to the opposite gender. People would interpret this as amounting to acts of injustice. Revenge, consequently, is not a way of enhancing justice within the society.
Conclusively, justice within the contemporary world infers that people deserve equal rights. It curtails the circumstances that may propagate acts of seclusion of some people for the wider sphere of freedoms of choice. This includes the rights of a fair hearing and shunning from false accusations such as the ones Soraya encountered or even prejudiced hearings such as the ones that surrounded the black man in the film To Kill a Mocking Bird. Moral justice infers treating your neighbor as you would like him/her to treat you.
Boeder, Laurie. To kill a mocking bird, 2011. Web.13 Dec. 2011.
Fox, Martins, and Johnson DeMarco. Moral Reasoning. Chicago: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1990. Print.
Hamlet. Dir. Branagh, Kenneth. Columbia pictures, 1996. Film.
Resnik, David. The Ethics of Science: An Introduction. New York: Routledge, 1998. Print.
Rosenbaum, Thane. “Justice? Vengeance? You need both.” The New York Times. July 27, 2011. Print.
To Kill A Mocking Bird. Dir. Robert Mulligan. Universal pictures, 1962. Film.