Justice In The Virginian, By Owen Wister

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Imagine if you had committed a crime and were imprisoned for it. Would you rather be punished the way they would have two-hundred years ago? In The Virginian, by Owen Wister, there are many voices that speak about justice. The way justice has been viewed, discussed, and executed over decades has changed dramatically. Whose way is right? Or is it a matter of doing whatever you think is right depending on the circumstances? As events unfold in The Virginian, Judge Henry and Molly Starkwood have an explosive dispute after Molly’s fiance, the Virginian, is forced to betray and kill his good friend because of the law. They argue about whether it is up to the foreman to abide by the what is lawful, or as Molly said, “-ordinary citizens …show more content…
Dr. Macbride, a parson in this story, comes to Sunk Creek to “save souls” as it were. He has a solid belief that there is a God, that all people are horrible sinners, and he will not hold back in telling you so. He also thinks that all laws should revolve around religion, his religion. As he criticizes and condemns everyone in sight, all those in Sunk Creek are sick and tired of it. Behind his back they are quoting him in a mocking way, for instance “All men are liars.” (124) Molly Starkwood says this as she and many others are fed up with the way Dr. Macbride is belittling their way of life. In the instance of hanging the cattle thieves Dr. Macbride thinks they did not have the right to punish them in this way since they themselves were not “holy.” Later the parson preaches a sermon telling how no man could do good, “They are altogether become filthy; There is not one of them that doeth good, no not one.” “His eye showed us plainly that the present company was not excepted from this.” In this setting and time period there were not nearly as many religions to be handled when it came to the law. So just think about the hundreds of diverse religions there are today, this must really affect how people obey or not obey the

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