Dickens and Thackeray: Punishment and Forgiveness
Attitudes toward punishment and forgiveness in English society of the nineteenth century came, for the most part, out of Christianity. In actual experience the ideal was not often met, but in the literature of the time the model was important. For novelists attempting to tell exciting and dramatic stories, violent and criminal activities played an important role, and, according to convention, had to be corrected through poetic justice or human punishment. Both Dickens' and Thackeray's novels subscribed to the ideal, but dealt with the dilemma it presented in slightly different ways.
At a time when a great deal of attention has been directed toward economic production and consumption as the bases for value, Reed's well-documented study reviving moral belief as a legitimate concern for the analysis of nineteenth-century English texts is particularly illuminating.
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There has been a great deal of discussion about punishment and justice in the
last two centuries and it remains a lively topic . ' Much recent discussion goes
over old ground , but some of it seeks to offer new remedies . Kleinig is one
While I dispute the pretensions of any theory which sets up an imaginary
standard of justice not grounded on utility , I account the justice which is
grounded on utility to be the chief part , and incomparably the most sacred and
binding part , of ...
At the very outset of this narrative , the machinery of justice is addled , more
deserving of the execution of justice upon it than through it . But if to seek justice
through Chancery is to court one ' s own ruin , how can justice be achieved ?
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Attitudes Toward Punishment and Forgiveness
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