Bleak House

Tensions Between Different Kinds Of Justice In Dickens' Work

"I have the honour to attend Court regularly. With my documents. I expect a judgment. Shortly. On the Day of Judgment." Bleak House.

In a novel so acutely dedicated to exposing the real and actual misery of its characters, very little of it arises from the literal application of the frequent bouts of disease alone. Certainly disease and apocalyptic imagery is present - Esther's smallpox disfigurement, Joe's fatal pestilential illness, Caddy's child, born deaf and mute, Miss Flite's "Day of Judgment", Krook's combustion, Tom-all-Alone's "revenge", Richard Carstone's untimely death literally from heartbreak and exhaustion, and Sir Leicester Dedlock's metaphorical "floodgates" and actual stroke - but this endless string of tragedy tends to terminate rather than augur the larger metaphorical illness that afflicts all characters alike, regardless of social status or economic strength.

In a society unseasoned with the ways of a quick and efficient justice system, and in the novel's complicated plot with its dozens of characters enveloped by adultery, blackmail, murder, and plenty of fog and mud that characterise the turgid moral atmosphere, the Court of...

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