Shakespeare’s Outlook on the Justice System in King Lear
In this brief quote from Shakespeare’s play King Lear he is making a statement about the rich vs. the poor and how it is easy to see the wrong performed by the poor however it is easy to justify the wrong done by the individuals with a large pocket book. When I take a look around, read a newspaper, or watch the channel eight news it is very clear to me that Lear’s statement is, however unfortunate and unfair, true as it accurately represents the injustice of today.
Through tatter’d clothes small vices do appear; Robes and furr’d gowns hide all. ” This is a very blunt and upfront statement by Lear that makes it rather clear where he stands on the issue. He is saying that the mistakes made by those with “tatter’d clothes” are easy to be seen, that their possessions, or money, do not hide the wrong. However those with “furr’d gowns” can hide behind their possessions to be sure that the wrong they perform can be hidden.
When one pays close attention to the news it is easy to see how true Lear’s statement really is. You can sit by and watch as celebrities unleash in violent rages, violate the traffic laws, or are caught in the act of substance abuse and receive only a slap on the wrist where any other ordinary person would get serious jail time or possibly worse. For instance when you see a star on television that has assaulted the paparazzi and gets off with a slap on the hands, where someone like me or you would get months in jail for aggravated assault. Plate sin with gold, and the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks:” in this quote Shakespeare is saying that when a crime is committed by someone who has the money to pay the right people justice breaks and in a sense no longer exists. This is true even today; it is not uncommon to see someone with large amounts of money getting off the hook without a solid explanation. If you have the money to get the job done you can get away with just about anything. “Arm it in rags, a pigmy’s straw does pierce it. ” With this next line Shakespeare is comparing the rich to the poor yet again.
When a crime is committed by the poor or someone with little money it would not take much evidence to prove them guilty. Shakespeare is trying to make a statement about the injustice of his day in this poem. However he succeeded in making a statement that not only holds true in the medieval times but also in the everyday society of today. The poor are pinned for petty crimes and the rich are let off for some of the most extreme offences. It can be seen on the news or in the newspaper; justice is a thing that is rarely found even with today’s advanced justice system. Not only can it be found in the courtroom but in everyday life as well.
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