Retributive Justice In Agamemnon And The Sailor

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Retributive Justice in Agamemnon and The Sailor who fell from Grace with the Sea

The concept of retributivist justice is best understood as the form of justice ruling that “those who commit certain kinds of wrongful acts, paradigmatically serious crimes, morally deserve to suffer a proportionate punishment” (Walen, 2016). In Aeschylus’s Agamemnon and Yukio Mishima’s The Sailor who fell from Grace with the Sea, the concept of retributive justice influences the emotions and actions of the characters, as well as directs the course of each plot. However, retributive justice takes different forms in each of the works, which makes each differ in their portrayal of justice. To compare retributive justice in both works, one must ask:
1. Why punish?
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What she fails to realize is that rather than putting an end to the cycle, she has become a part of it, as Orestes will return to Argos to avenge his father, foreshadowed by the Chorus at the end of the play. These are examples of a cross between utilitarian and retributivist justice (Walen, 2016), which recurs throughout the trilogy numerous times. This explains the reason behind the models of retributive justice in the Oresteia trilogy, essentially saying that ‘justice is done to avenge the fallen’. In Agamemnon, justice is described as a force that impels an individual to carry out the prescribed act of vengeance. This force is personified as Zeus, king of the Greek gods who “was thought to omnisciently observe the affairs of men, seeing everything, governing all, and rewarding good conduct and punishing evil.” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2017)
“I gaze in awe on Zeus of the guests who wrung from Alexander such payment.
He bent the bow with slow care, that neither the shaft might hurdle the stars, nor
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This ‘blood for blood’ model of retributive justice propels the plot and action in the Oresteia trilogy, and makes the idea that justice is revenge an axiom in the story. Thus, it is conclusive that retributive justice takes the form of revenge in Aeschylus’s play Agamemnon. Unlike that of Agamemnon, Yukio Mishima’s The Sailor who fell from Grace with the Sea is a novel that shows justice as a form of restorative justice, in which the offender takes action to repair the harm they have done (Braswell, 2014). In the case of Ryuji Tsukazaki’s murder, the central act of justice, the gang justifies this as a way to “obey freedom’s supreme command, to perform the deed essential to filling the emptiness of the world” (Mishima 167). The chief explains this to the gang prior to Ryuji’s murder: “‘We must have blood! Human blood! If we don’t get it this empty world will go pale and shrivel up. We must drain that sailor’s fresh lifeblood and transfuse it to the dying universe, the dying sky, the dying forests, and the drawn, dying land.” (Mishima

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