Poetic justice

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Poetic justice means receiving the retribution one deserves, getting what one has coming to them, justice meted out by the universe. The literary critic Thomas Rymer penned the phrase poetical justice in 1678, referring to the literary device of rewarding upstanding characters and raining retribution on evil characters. Rymer believed that stories should be morally uplifting yet believable and logical. Today, the term poetic justice refers to a literary device as well as retribution dealt out by the universe in real-life circumstances. Poetic justice is a noun.


There’s a bit of poetic justice in the fact that Justice Scalia, in particular, passed away under such circumstances, for his expiration exposes a little known ethical loophole through which moneyed interests can curry special favors from Supremes: judicial junkets. (New Britain Herald)

Former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Minister of Transport and Works, Mike Henry, says that he expects “poetic justice” with the likely opening of the Caymanas-Angels and Ocho Rios-Moneague legs of the North-South Highway by the end of February. (The Jamaica Observer)

“It was an exciting time but a very difficult time,” Cisneros said, adding that he and his family faced death threats from Noriega and his soldiers after the Army invaded Panama. “It was poetic justice that I was the one who captured him.” (The Corpus Christi Caller Times)

This is an intriguingly perverse approach: Certainly, there seems to be a measure of poetic justice, perhaps even a worthwhile political end, in a redistribution of attention from those who have gotten so much to those who have gotten so little. (The New York Times)

It’s poetic justice Wallabies loose forward David Pocock is not playing in Monday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Scotland. (The New Zealand Herald)