Everyone, in one way or another, has their way of thinking about law and justice, or a form of it. Be it revenge, retribution, or the utilitarian approach that our system follows now. With the changes in society, our way of thinking about justice has changed too. But it becomes interesting when two different forms of justice clash together.
Our morals, our views, and our perceptions are shaken leaving us in a dilemma. We witnessed one such clash in Marvel’s Daredevil, in the Punisher arc. Two characters, one a law-abiding superhero and the other a vigilante; but both want justice to bring peace.
The Daredevil and Punisher problem
The characters of the Marvel universe, including the Punisher and Daredevil, often grapple with complex moral issues and the concept of justice. These characters portrayed flawed perception of justice- through their differing approaches to seeking justice and dealing with crime.
The Punisher, also known as Frank Castle, is a vigilante who takes the law into his own hands. He uses extreme violence to punish those he perceives as deserving of retribution. He operates outside of the legal system and sees himself as a kind of judge, jury, and executioner. This leads him to believe that his actions are necessary to deliver justice in a world that is too corrupt, unfair and incapable of delivering justice.
This approach to law and justice is flawed
It is because it disregards the rule of law and due process. This could potentially end up harming innocent people. The Punisher’s single-minded focus on punishment also ignores the importance of rehabilitation and the possibility of redemption for those who have committed crimes.
On the other hand there’s Daredevil, also known as Matt Murdock. He is a superhero who works within the system of law and justice as a lawyer. He uses his powers of heightened senses and combat skills to fight crime. While he uses force to protect the innocent and uphold justice, he also believes in the value of the legal system and the importance of due process.
Daredevil’s approach to justice is more nuanced. He recognizes that justice is not just about punishment- but also about ensuring that the system holds people accountable for their actions. This approach is less flawed than the Punisher’s, as it takes into account the complexities of the legal system. It also takes into note the need to balance the pursuit of justice with respect for the rights of all involved. But it is still flawed.
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We only think “why” when this legal, complex and more nuanced approach clashes with the other. The Punisher wants to punish the ones who killed his family, while Daredevil takes a legal approach to fight it. And what sums it up best is the line by the Punisher “You know what I think of you, hero? I think you’re a half-measure- I think you’re a man who can’t finish the job. I think that you’re a coward.” Stating that abiding by the law, will only get the people out in the long run and they can commit crimes again.
The face off
When the two morals and philosophies are in a clash it makes us think, what is law and justice? The characters of the Punisher and Daredevil can serve as examples of how flawed perception of justice can lead to different approaches to seeking justice. The Punisher’s focus on punishment and vigilantism is rather flawed as compared to Daredevil’s more righteous and nuanced understanding of justice. What do you think of the more righteous Daredevil’s approach and the Punisher’s clash?