Ans. Justice is a powerful social tragedy. It is a strong satire on the 13 contemporary English system of law and judiciary. Galsworthy brings into light the glaring shortcomings and defects in the legal system of England. He says that law is a blind and inhuman process. Law does not take into consideration human psychology and innate human infirmities. The British judicial system is unfair and unscrupulous. John Galsworthy justice summary
It is a malignant process in which innumerable innocent and noble intentioned men are victimized. The chariot- wheels of the system of law continue to revolve furiously and innumerable innocent men are caught into them and crushed to powder. The prisons are like an ill-fated ship in which thousands of prisoners, perish. Once a man is caught and convicted to imprisonment, there is no escape for him. Once a man puts his step into the cage, there is no withdrawal possible for him. It is a process of completing the crime. this is the idea behind this social tragedy, Justice. John Galsworthy justice summary
John Galsworthy quality
This idea is brought home through the conviction and death of an innocent and noble-hearted young man, Falder. Falder is employed as a junior clerk in the firm of James & Walter How. He is highly dutiful, honest and conscientious in discharging his duties. Everybody in the office is pleased with him. He has never done anything that may cause the least doubt and suspicion about his honesty and integrity. Suddenly, there is a reversal in the fortunes of Falder.
He develops a deep and passionate love for an unfortunate married woman, Ruth Honewill. Ruth’s husband is a very cruel and heartless monster. He treats her most cruelly and insolently. He even tries to strangle her to death. Under these circumstances, Faider develops a deep sympathy with her. This sympathy gradually develops into deep love. One early morning, Ruth calls on Falder and says that her husband again tried to strangle her to death. John Galsworthy justice summary
Do you consider Justice as a social tragedy
Falder feels extremely sorry and excited. He almost goes mad with grief, fear, and anger, the life of her beloved is in danger. If she goes back to her husband, there is every possibility that he may kill her. Falder wants to help her and is prepared to do anything for her, but he is helpless because he has no money. He decides with Ruth to go away to come to a foreign land where they could live peacefully as husband and wife. He was prepared to marry her, but it was not possible because Ruth had not obtained a legal divorce from her husband.
Justice as a tragedy
Falder finds himself a fix. He is torn between infatuating love for Ruth and his inability to help her. In this state of mind, he goes to the office. He cannot apply himself to his work. He keeps on pacing up and down the room like a wild bear. He goes almost mad under unbearable emotional distress and mental excitement. Presently, a cheque for nine pounds is handed over to him for encasement from the bank. A thought flashed across his mind. John Galsworthy justice summary
Supposing he added a zero after the figure of nine and try after the word nine, the cheque could be cashed for ninety pounds instead of nine. In a momentary fit of excitement and emotional lunacy lasting for just four minutes, he alters the figures in the cheque and gets the money. Immediately, he relishes his guilt. But it is now too late, He has already been caught in the trap. There is no escape for him now. He thinks of throwing away the money and flinging himself before a bus. However, Ruth’s distress keeps him alive.
He purchases two tickets and asks Ruth to keep ready for departure that night. He decides to write to his masters form his destination about what he had done. He intended to pay back the whole money gradually. But a few hours before her departure with Ruth, his crime is detected. He pleads his innocence and begs apology and promises to pay back the whole money but James pays on heed to his requests. Falder is handed over to the police. A few days later, Falder is tried in the court of law. Forme, the council for defense, puts forth the plea the Falder is not a habitual criminal. John Galsworthy justice summary
Justice by John Galsworthy summary SparkNotes
He has been led to this crime in a maddening fit of excitement and emotional distress amounting to temporary insanity. He pleads that Falder is an innocent and inexperienced young man of twenty-three, His only fault is that he is a tender-hearted and sentimental young man. He cannot win over his primary human infirmity. Forme says that Falder has already had more than his punishment in the form of repentance, humiliation, and mental torture. It would be unjust to convict him to imprisonment for his unintentional deed. Forme says that law is a lifeless, feelingless blind and malignant process.
Once the young man is caught into its network, there would be no escape for him. It would ruin the entire life and career of a noble-hearted and honest young man. But the system of law is blind. It is unfair, unjust and unscrupulous Falder is convicted to three year’s rigorous imprisonment. Falder joins the ill-fated crew in the prison. Life in prison is a prolonged tragedy. The prisoners live a sub-human life. No attention is paid to their emotional and psychological suffering.
All of them are first confined to solitary confinement. Folder suffers from a nervous breakdown in his solitary cell. He feels like knocking his head against the door and walls of his cell. Thus, he passes three long years in extreme misery, acute mental agony, and emotional distress. At the end of his term, he is released. He comes out and tries to get work at several places. But circumstances do not allow him to continue long at any place. Wherever he goes. john Galsworthy justice summary
His history goes with him. He is hated and looked down upon everywhere. He has been caught in the trap forever. He cannot escape from the network woven around him. In the end, he goes to his old firm and requests his employers to give him another chance. James, his master, agrees to give him another chance on some conditions. While he is yet talking with James in his office, the police sergeant, Wister, arrives three.
He comes in search of Falder, The law requires that every prisoner after his release must regularly report to the police about his whereabouts. Falder had not been regular in reporting to the police. He was to be arrested again for this crime. Wister catches hold of Falder and tries to drag him downstairs. Falders tries to break away. In this attempt, he falls, breaks his neck and dies. The chariot wheels of the malignant system of law have run over him. john Galsworthy justice summary
He is now crushed to ashes. The process is complete. This tragedy made a powerful impact on the social life and judiciary of England. The legislators became aware of the heartless process of the law. Galsworthy made further personal appeals in the press and to the Prime Minister of England. In the end, this tragedy led to the revision of the rules relating to solitary confinement.
Galsworthy makes an important note about it in his diary: “Justice made a great sensation, especially in Parliamentary and official circles, Winston Churchill, the new Home Secretary, and Ruggles- Brise, Head of the Prison Commission both witnessed it, the first with sympathy, the second with a sinking sensation. Reinforcing previous efforts the net result was that solitary confinement was reduced to three months for recidivists, and to one month for intermediates and start class.” Thus, Justice is one of the most important sociological plays of the present century.