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What are some famous quotes about poetic justice to enhance my answer in an essay about...

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sarasaad1992 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 10, 2010 at 11:37 PM via web

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What are some famous quotes about poetic justice to enhance my answer in an essay about The Merchant of Venice.

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lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted June 11, 2010 at 2:09 AM (Answer #1)

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There are some great examples of poetic justice in Biblical stories. One is the story of Joseph. Joseph is a spoiled young man, his father's favorite. His other brothers are jealous of him because he always brags about dreams he has in which his brothers  bow down to him. The brothers sell him into slavery in Egypt.

Lots happens in Egypt, but Joseph eventually becomes the number #2 man. He stores grain in warehouses because he knows there is a famine coming. Joseph's brothers run out of food, so they finally have to go to Egypt because their father Jacob has heard there is grain there. They do not recognize Joseph. They thought he was dead. Ultimately, Joseph's dream comes true because his brothers do have to bow down to him. When they realize who Joseph is, they fear for their lives, but Joseph forgives them. It is poetic justice that the young man whom his brothers thought had been killed turns out to save his family. Joseph said to his brothers, "Am I in the place of God? You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good." That is a quote you can use.

Also, in the Book of Esther - there is poetic justice because an evil man named Haman is hanged on the same gallows that he has prepared for another man called Mordecai. Haman and his wife Zeresh devise a plot to kill all the Jews in Persia. The plot is foiled by Queen Esther, who is married to Ahasuerus but who is a Jew. Mordecai is her uncle.  Haman builds a gallows to hang Mordecai because Mordecai refuses to bow down to Haman. Through a complicated story, his plot is eventually uncovered and the king is so angry, he tells his men to hang Haman from the same gallows he prepared for Mordecai.

Haman thinks the king is going to honor him, but he really intends to honor Mordecai for uncovering a plot to kill the king that happened a year ago. The king tells Haman, "What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?” Thinking it is himself the king is talking about, Haman comes up with a grandiose plan to be seated on a horse and paraded through the town, in honor, but the king turns to him and tells him to do this for Mordecai.

Other examples of poetic justice are in Macbeth - Macbeth winds up being killed himself because he failed to pay attention to the second part of the witches' prophecy. He killed so many to ensure the first part would be fulfilled (that he would be king), and yet in the end, it is all for naught as he is killed. There is also poetic justice in Hamlet when Gertrude drinks the poison intended for Hamlet, and she dies and when Laertes is killed with his own sword, which has been poisoned. Laertes says:  “I am justly kill’d with my own treachery." Claudius is also killed by the same poisoned sword that he meant to kill Hamlet, and Hamlet forces hiim to drink the rest of the poisoned wine that he intended for Hamlet.

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