Just vs. The Right Thing To Do

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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What comes to your mind when you hear the word "justice"? What about the phrase "the right thing to do". At first glance these two might seem very similar in meaning, but it could be that upon further examination there meanings are found to be vastly different. Webster's dictionary defines justice as, "1 Honorable and fair in one's dealings and actions 2 Consistent with what is morally right 3 Properly due or merited 4 Valid within the law, lawful 5 Based on fact sound or reason". Webster defines right as, "1 Conforming with or conformable to justice, law, or morality 2 In accordance with fact, reason, or truth 3 Fitting, proper, or appropriate 4 Most favorable, desirable, or convenient". Looking at these two definitions one still might think that "just" and "right" are almost identical in meaning, but others might have a see them as different. It is commonly believed that what is "just" is often meant to mean the fair thing to do in the eyes of authority, or in the eyes of the majority in charge.

On the other hand it is also commonly believed that "the right thing to do" is what is seen as fair through the eyes of the individual. Although these two often are the same to both the majority and the individual, in certain situations they can be completely different. Through many different situations in history and in literature the word "just" and the phrase "the right thing to do" have come to mean almost completely different things.

First, in the story of Antigone by Sophocles the word "just" and "the right thing to do" come to mean almost completely different things. Antigone is the sister to two recently deceased brothers who killed themselves fighting for the heir to the title of the...