Nature has shown throughout time rigidity equals death. Mercy, though, is flexibility. Justice tends to be absolute, and thus ill equipped to deal with novel new situations, or exploit novel opportunity. This type of trait is absolutely required for any species to survive in the long term. Mercy is an extension of the very idea that justice is supposed to promote; comfort, safety, and joy. Mercy is a means and an end. If the society in question is populated by unaltered humans, then mercy is a far more effective tool of inclusion than justice. Justice is typically about revenge, where as mercy is about prevention.
Tolerance for the suffering of others, is the root of all our social problems. Competition is tolerance for the loser’s suffering, rape is tolerance for the victim’s suffering, racism is tolerance for a race’s suffering, environmental destruction is tolerance for the suffering of the as yet unborn, and so on. Mercy is the capacity to look past flaws, which is required because we all have them. Justice is the demand that those who carry flaws be attacked. Attacking ourselves is mindless. Persuasion is often greater than punishment. Crime is either the system failing to address someone, or mental illness, neither of which are appropriately responded to with the intentional infliction of pain. And that’s what justice is. Mercy is an objective. It can be demonstrated, universally, it can be carried out safely. Justice, is a subjective, and a boundary.
King Lear can suggest in ways that mercy is essentially the most crucial aspect to humanity; mercy is what drives peace, respect, and gives opportunity towards sanity. Firstly, the mercy King Lear expresses to Cordelia shows how mercy can restore relationships. Secondly, insufficient mercy leads to destructive relationships which cause others to drive into insanity. Lastly, Edgar’s crucial act of mercy led to his father Gloucester reaching an epiphany, that he was wrong by trusting Edmund. All three topics are relevant within Act IV and show how mercy is a critical aspect to life. This could suggest that mercy highly outweighs justice; mercy is the single most important quality to humankind which brings out peace. Whereas justice on the other hand leads to an ongoing cycle of violence where nothing can get solved.
First, the mercy that King Lear willingly shows to Cordelia restores relationships. He openly states mercy towards Cordelia and says:
“You do me wrong to take me out o’th’ grave
Thou art a soul in bliss; but I