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First and foremost, let’s try to answer a deeply ethical question – what is justice? I believe that justice is the result of nature and the fulfillment of one’s duty of good humanity. The basic principle of justice is the principle of equality and equilibrium state of our existence. Justice is expressed, first of all, in relations to other people. To be fair is to do everything that the law of morality requires. The laws of morality are often carried through religion, faith, culture, society, government, and upbringing. However, sometimes things get “lost in translation” and laws of morality become blurred and start fading away possessed by corruption and despair.
The film “Death of the Maiden” explores a lot of issues that relate to justice and human rights. A country of Chile, which was crawling out of dictatorship, was on a way of cleansing its dark past and punishing those that committed human rights violations during the previous regime. The first thought that came to my mind is how is it possible for the law can end the chain of violence, considering that the whole generation of people was raised during violent times (for 15 years Chile was submerged in a dictatorship). To answer that question a film shows a story of three people that perhaps can shine the light on the issue, as I believe there is a direct correlation between Paulina and humanity as a whole.
Paulina was a political activist and fell victim to the dictatorship regime. She was tortured and raped which caused her to lose faith in humanity. One scene particularly spoke to me through this film; as an argument was made by Paulina’s husband that only death is irreversible, and everything else could be subjected to repair. Paulina, living through the experience of torture and rape, insists that it is not only death that can leave a permanent damage on the human being, especially on a woman. Since political torture is meant to teach its victims that they are nothing but bodies, small cogs in a big machine of government. Furthermore, for a woman it is even a deeper message as those rapes Paulina endured, are meant to show that she is a mere tool for pleasure and nothing else. I tend to agree with Paulina, in a sense that anyone who suffers through torture will never again be able to ease in this world.
This explains her deep desire to punish the evil doers and restore her peace. When such an opportunity arose in a shape of Roberto, she did not hesitate and took it, since she recognized the voice from those torture days. It is possible to think that her desire for revenge takes over common sense, an argument made by her husband was that she might kill an innocent man. She didn’t care for this remark and continued with her version of a trial. I believe that this portrays every justice system in a world, as quite often it can be brutal, irrational, and blind, with many innocent people falling under the hammer of justice.
Whether Roberto was really innocent or guilty may not even matter, the film ends with a very powerful message, and that is mercy in Paulina’s heart prevails. Paulina, perhaps very kind and decent person, self-sufficient in soul and body, will not create injustice unlike Roberto and she forgave him for his crimes. Public life is held by strings of justice which is the same as the proportionality to harmony – a constant force of binary opposing forces, one tortures and rapes and yet another one forgives and lives on. In conclusion, I want to emphasize that faith in the triumph of justice is an important moment in the moral life of humanity.