How is Justine not given Justice, I Just don’t understand?

The wrongful execution of Justine serves as a symbolic backdrop for the corruption of good. As Justine represents the purity of justice, she is nonetheless coerced and pressured to confess. She mentions to Elizabeth that her confession was out of duress and fear; “…ever since I was condemned, my confessor had besieged me; he threatened and menaced, until I almost began to think that I was the monster that he said I was” (Vol. I Ch. VII pg. 107). Shelley uses Justine’s false confession and the injustice therein, when she states, “I subscribed to a lie; and now only am I truly miserable” (pg. 107), as a way to draw a direct correlation to the death of justice and ideological purity during the French Revolution. Good intentions and aspirations were what fueled the start of the Revolution, with the rise and empowerment of the poor in addition to the goal of securing equality and justice under the law. Just as Justine was influenced by negative outside forces, so was the Revolution itself. While Justine acted out of the condemnation she received for a crime she didn’t commit, the noble ideals championed at the beginning of the Revolution soon gave way to extremist influences, with truth and justice eventually being discarded as seen with the Reign of Terror. Proper truth and justice, and those advocating it, were drowned out by the surge of radicals. The inner core of the Revolution was thus corrupted, much like Justine.

In addition, it is no coincidence that the name Justine and justice are so similar. Justine symbolizes what is true and just, and her death characterizes the absence of these concepts. The Frankenstein’s rely on the system of legal justice to save Justine: “If she is, as you believe, innocent, rely on the justice of our laws” (Vol. I Ch. VI pg. 103). This quote demonstrates and reflects the same simplistic and unwavering belief the in a judicial system that the citizens during the French Revolution shared with the Frankenstein’s. That is, a belief in a system that was straying farther away from truth and justice.

 

 

 

 

 

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