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By Alison L. LaCroix, Richard H. McAdams, Martha C. Nussbaum

"Lawyers and fiction writers have regularly faced crime and punishment. This age-old fascination with crime at the a part of either authors and readers is no surprise, provided that felony justice touches on such a lot of political and mental topics necessary to literature, and is derived built with a tribulation strategy that comprises its personal dramatic constitution. This essay assortment explores this profound and enduring Read more...

summary: "Lawyers and fiction writers have regularly faced crime and punishment. This age-old fascination with crime at the a part of either authors and readers isn't a surprise, provided that legal justice touches on such a lot of political and mental issues necessary to literature, and springs built with a tribulation technique that comprises its personal dramatic constitution. This essay assortment explores this profound and enduring literary engagement with crime and legal justice. The essays during this assortment span a big selection of genres, together with tragic drama, technological know-how fiction, lyric poetry, autobiography, and secret novels. The works mentioned comprise works as outdated as fifth-century BCE Greek tragedy and as fresh as modern novels, memoirs, and secret novels. The cumulative result's arresting: there are "killer other halves" and crimes opposed to timber; a central authority bureaucrat who sends political adversaries to their loss of life for treason earlier than falling to an analogous destiny himself; a convicted assassin who does not die while hanged; a psychopathogical collector whose relatively sane kidnapping sufferer however additionally collects; Justice Thomas' studying and misreading of larger Thomas; a guy who forgives his son's assassin and one that can't forgive his wife's non-existent adultery; fictional detectives who draw on ancient research to resolve murders. those essays commence a talk, they usually illustrate the good intensity and gear of crime in literature."

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In their default retributive mode the Furies self-​identify as “luckless daughters of the Night” (Eu. 921). In this mode they are wholly blind to differences between justifiability and culpability. By contrast, under the tutelage of “All-​seeing Zeus” (Eu. 1223) the Eumenides, now dressed in radiant crimson robes, become torchbearers for a humane mode of punishment. It is true that the mitigating factors of Orestes’s case are not what motivate the Furies’ leniency—​and this marks an important disanalogy between the Furies and the merciful judge—​but once transformed, the Eumenides are able to recognize factors of this sort.

We will be well served by briefly attending to the history of the concepts of justice (dike) and mercy (epiekeia). On Anaximander’s use of the concept (the oldest available to us), justice (dike) follows the same sort of regularity that natural processes are taken to exhibit. Like the order of nature, the just judge is not to be moved in the face of ostensible mitigating circumstances. As Nussbaum puts this understanding of justice, “The world of strict dike is a harsh and symmetrical world, in which order and design are preserved with exceptionless clarity.

The most decisive act, however, that the supreme power performs and accomplishes against the predominance of grudges and rancor—​it always takes this action as soon as it is in any way strong enough to do so—​is the institution of law, the imperative declaration of what in general counts as permitted, as just, in its eyes, and what counts as forbidden, as unjust… . From now on the eye is trained to an evermore impersonal evaluation of the deed. ”23 A brief word on this difference will be of use.

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