All terms

"What is poetic justice?"

A situation where someone gets what they deserve, often in a satisfying or ironic way.

The Sweet Sting of Poetic Justice

There is something undeniably satisfying about seeing someone get their comeuppance in a way that feels fitting and poetic.

Perhaps it's the sense that justice has been served, or that the universe is somehow in balance again. Maybe it's just the sheer pleasure of seeing someone hoisted by their own petard.

Whatever the reason, poetic justice is a staple of literature (and life) for a reason. It can add depth and complexity to a story, making it feel more realistic and satisfying.

From Shakespeare's plays to modern thrillers, writers have been using poetic justice to create memorable and impactful stories for centuries. Whether it's a murderer finally facing the consequences of their actions, or a liar getting caught in their own web of deceit, poetic justice is a powerful tool for writers to use.

When the Bad Guy Gets What's Coming: Two Examples of Poetic Justice in Literature
Hamlet by William Shakespeare

In Hamlet, the titular character seeks revenge on his uncle, who has murdered his father and taken the throne. In the end, both Hamlet and his uncle die, but the uncle's death is poetic justice, as he is killed by the same poison he had intended to use on Hamlet.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is a lovelorn millionaire who becomes entangled in a web of lies and deceit. In the end, his enemies turn on him, and he is shot and killed in his swimming pool. This is poetic justice, as it represents Gatsby's downfall and the consequences of his actions.