Often in our lives we are told to turn the other cheek or that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Karma seems like it never comes at opportune times and people get away with crimes all the time. In times of injustice, people like to take matters into their own hands and exact their own punishment. Others restrain themselves and instead allow the police to handle it. What’s appropriate for when?
We have a justice system in place that is created to rehabilitate people and try to make them understand their wrongdoing. When this is achieved, they are allowed to enter back into society as reformed individuals. Some people slip through the cracks of the system and escape justice for their crimes. Still, others do not receive adequate punishment for the crime. What is it that we are trying to achieve? Do we want revenge or do we want justice? Some crimes are impossible to set a standard punishment for. Sure, we can take away the two most precious commodities, time and money. What about the worst crimes? Those who take away lives and leave others scarred? Maybe a death penalty could be in place but even then they suffer only a few seconds of pain if even that. Years of emotional anguish could never be repaid.
This is the basis of the theme of The Count of Monte Cristo. We humans are inherently limited by ourselves. We cannot give perfect punishments for each crime and we cannot relieve everybody of their suffering. The main point is that we try, but we should just let God handle the divine punishment. We are not justified or equipped to do these things. That doesn’t mean that we should resign ourselves to what God decides to do for punishment. We can try and must try to keep this social balance in order otherwise there would be chaos. It’s all a balance between the two extremities.
Lady Justice is seen depicting the scales of justice. This is saying that the punishment must fit the crime as one should not outbalance the other. The blindfold is to show indifference. No matter what, there would be no favoritism and impartiality would be an essential part of justice. The identity, the gender, the money, and the power would not play a role. Prejudice would not take part of the ultimate decision and instead only evidence brought out would. This means that revenge is not what we should be trying to aim for. Giving them more than they deserve, more punishment, would only do more harm.
This isn’t to mean that we should let other people hand our problems for us. When being bullied, sometimes it’s good to stand up to them instead of walking away. Deferring would only show weakness and abuse would continue. That’s not to say that we should give a punch for every punch. Responding to every single conflict with the same amount of force would just escalate things. It’s all dependent on the situation and when evaluating it, try and make sure that you’re making the right decision.