The Role of Punishment and Desire to Restore Justice
In the modern society there is no agreement concerning punishment, its role and effectiveness. There are people who deny punishment. They claim that all kinds of punishment are inhuman because they contradict basic human rights and thus punishment should be eliminated from the social discourse. At the same time there are scholars, politicians and philosophers who claim that punishment is beneficial for the society since through the fear of being punished people acquire necessary modes of behavior and generally accepted ethic norms. The problem of punishment which became a burning matter of the social discourse in the 21st century was easily solved by the representatives of the previous epochs. For instance, such outstanding personalities as Montaigne and Shakespeare supported the idea that society cannot live without imposing punishment on its citizens for their wrong actions. The main task of the current paper is to research the purpose and proper features of an effective punishment on the example of Montaigne’s philosophical views represented in his work The Essays and two world-famous plays of William Shakespeare, namely in The Winter’s Tale and in The Tempest.
Michel de Montaigne is by far one of the most outstanding philosophers representing the basic principles of the French Renaissance. In his famous work The Essays Michel de Montaigne discloses his personal understanding of the world and his ideas about such important issues as order, justice, human nature, human vices and merits. This book is absolutely honest and it remains to be relevant even in more than five hundred years after the date of its publishing. Being a great statesman of his time, Montaigne paid a lot of attention to the most contradictory issues of his time. For instance, he opposed a common practice of implying tortures in order to get confessions of crime committing. He sincerely believed that this practice was inhuman and that it was absolutely useless because people would confess in anything in order to avoid pain and death. The philosopher writes “The putting men to the rack is a dangerous invention, and seems to be rather a trial of patience than of truth” (Montaigne 233). The thinker describes many cases in which people were tortured to death but they did not confess their crimes because of shame and because of pride.
So, punishing in the form of torture is not effective because it does not improve people and it does not cure their vices. Still, while denying the practice of tortures Montaigne did not deny the idea of punishment. In his opinion punishment was necessary to deprive both society and its citizens of certain vices. Montaigne argued that people should be punished for being obstinate and for being coward. In this respect punishment is supposed to perform an educational function. It does not mean that severe punishment should be obligatory imposed on people. It is enough to know that strict punishment is …