King Lear and Oedipus Rex: Justice

Edmund’s quest for justice (Act I) Edmund the base shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper; now gods, stand up for bastards
Lear’s apostrophe to nature (Act III) I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness / I never gave you kingdom, called you children / You owe me no subscription
Lear on societal justice Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel / That thou mayst shake the superflux to them / And show the heavens more just
Gloucester’s views on divine justice As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods / They kill us for their sport
Gloucester on societal justice So distribution should undo excess, and each man have enough
Lear’s anagnorisis They told me I was everything / ’tis a lie, I am not ague-proof
Edgar’s views on divine justice The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices / Make instruments to plague us. / The dark and vicious place where thee he got / Cost him his eyes
Edmund reflects on his fate The wheel is come full circle: I am here
Albany on justice All friends shall taste the wages of their virtue and all foes the cup of their deservings
Cordelia reflects on her and her father’s fate We are not the first, who with best meaning, have incurred the worst
Lear reflects on the injustice of Cordelia’s death (Act V) Why should a dog, a horse, a rat have life; and thou no breath at all?
Final line of the play We that are young / shall never see so much, nor live so long
Oedipus’s quest for justice I will expose the killer, I will reveal him / To the light
Tiresias conveys Apollo’s orders Apollo commands us: cleanse the city of Thebes
Innocence before guilt I will not blame Oedipus / whatever anyone says / until words are real as things
Creon responds to accusations Now let me reply. / Weigh my words against your charges, then judge for yourself
Creon the interrogator But now, Oedipus, it’s my right, it’s my turn to question you
Creon reflects on the omnipresence of justice Time is one incorruptible judge
Shepard You were marked for suffering from the day you were born
Creon reflects on Oedipus’ loss of power Don’t give me orders! Those days are over. Your orders have brought you to this
Kent’s defiance leading to his punishment I have seen better faces in my time than stands on any shoulder that I see here before me at this instant
Regan’s doubles Kent’s punishment Till noon? Till night my lord, and all night too
Goneril punishes Gloucester Pluck out his eyes!
Kent offers a nihilistic proclamation at the end of the play All’s cheerless, dark and deadly
Edmund reveals Goneril and Regan’s deaths The one the other poisoned for my sake, and after slew herself
Edmund reflects on the injustice of his repression Wherefore base? When my dimensions are are well compact, my mind as generous, and my shape as true, as madam’s honest issue
Susan Bruce on Edmund ‘We sympathise with Edmund’s sense of injustice’
Lear highlights societal corruption Handy dandy, which is the justice, which is the thief?
The Fool (the ideal) When every case in law is right
The Fool (the reality) When priests are more in word than matter
Gloucester calls on justice to see to Goneril and Regan I shall see the winged vengeance overtake such children

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