Every part of human civilization has to depend on earthly justice. The judgment may sometimes appear appreciable or not appreciable. But, there is no way humans can deny it. John Galsworthy’s famous play Justice also deals with that judgment, legal as well as social.
The play unravels the horrific impacts of the strict enforcement of legal justice. In addition, it also highlights the destitution of social justice crippling in a modern community. The social tragedy boldly carries a significant irony to manifest how an unintentional offender gets severely punished for a minor crime. In reality, it satires earthly justice.
The theme of John Galsworthy’s problem play ‘Justice’ relates to the unfortunate forgery-crime committed by a nervous clerk, Falder, and the severe punishment inflicted on him. Yes, Falder is the hero of the tragic play. He commits forgery to save a woman, Ruth, from her brutal husband. He perpetrates the crime in a moment of weakness. In short, Falder is an unintentional offender.
Now, as per law, he faces a court trial. And the Trial Scene in the play unfolds the actual story. It pinpoints the problem of legal justice explicitly. In short, the entire Court Scene appears with extreme importance as the playwright invents a necessary dramatic treatment to make the scene the lifeblood of the play.
The playwright has intentionally given a unique dramatic treatment to the scene to address an important fundamental problem regarding earthly justice. Two essential parts, the defence counsel and the Judge, play the final roles to assess the gravity of the said fundamental issue. Galsworthy uses the defense counsel to expose the adverse impacts of a strict, cold system of legal justice. On the other hand, the author employs the Judge to maintain a robust judiciary system to retain stability and discipline in the society.
The two contrary views leave no choice for Falder but to accept severe punishment for the crime he commits to saving a human life. However, the judiciary doesn’t ready to listen to that cry of human conscience, and justice appears extremely unbearable for Falder. He prefers to escape the stiff clutch by ending his life. And an intentional fatal jump ends his life.
The judiciary may even remain unmoved by this tragic end of Falder. However, humans with a conscience must be shocked to see the dreadful demise. Robert Cokeson, the managing clerk of the specific firm where Falder was a staff, is one of the key persons to possess that conscience. He describes Falder’s death as gruesome and undesirable.
With a solid and courageous view, Cokeson doesn’t hesitate to say, “No one’ll touch him now! Never again! He’s safe with gentle Jesus!”
Robert Cokeson’s words make it clear that he feels extreme pain to see the suffering that the offender, Falder, had to go through. His remarks define the bitter truth that death has finally brought the ultimate relief for the ill-fated youth.
With his demise, Falder has now crossed all clutches and boundaries of the law. No legal justice can chase and hunt him now. Moreover, no threats of law and so-called ethics or morality can frighten him any more. Even no prison administration catches and confines him. In a word, he is now above all earthly justice. No more earthly prosecution is waiting for him.
With the dying end, the ill-fated youth has ultimately secured rest in the all-merciful Jesus. In short, an eternal peace bathed with Almighty’s mercy is now the only identity of the bereaved heart.
It is indeed true that every word of Cokeson reflects a minute observation about the earthly justice, and simultaneously, a thin line of satire is prevailing. The remark exposes a hollowness of the cruel, cold, and callous social order. And the unfortunate victims are, no doubt, the easy prey of this cruelty.