Crime and Punishment - Was Wang So’s order to kill Chae Ryung justice or revenge?
I consider Wang So’s decision to punish CR to be justice:
Justice (n) just behavior or treatment. the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness.
Just and moral are points of view; and the meaning, concept and interpretation of these two words in the 10th century (Middle Ages) differ from today’s view. We cannot judge them according to the ideals of the 21th century. Also, WS’s actions towards CR are both righteousness and equitableness - CR caused many people to die (not even talking about the people who have to live without their loved one; and even if she killed only Moo - that’s a fratricide), therefore death is the only equitable punishment in this situation (even today she would have received death penalty for it in the US or Japan - all democratic countries with their own Charters of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms; and like I said - lethal injection simply wasn’t an option in the 10th century). If WS truly wanted to revenge himself on CR he would have killed her himself, if he truly wanted to revenge on her he WOULDN’T HAVE GIVEN HER TWO CHANCES TO REPENT.
“She was waiting for a moment to harm you. I had no reason or need to forgive her.”
I think what I forgot to mention before about WS ordering CR’s death and the manner in which she was executed as a deterrent example is ANOTHER ASPECT AND PURPOSE OF THE PUNISHMENT - IT WAS A NECCESARY PREVENTIVE MEASURE. The fact, that CR continued to betray HS showed WS that she is a threat, that she had no qualms hurting others for her selfish gains, that SHE WOULDN’T HAVE STOPPED UNTIL SOMEONE STOPPED HER. Just imagine if she was kept alive, she would have continued to hurt HS and other people, just like she had hurt Eun and SD (the collateral damage of her actions) - SHE WAS TOO DANGEROUS TO BE KEPT ALIVE BECAUSE SHE WAS DANGEROUS TO OTHERS. And prevention is another reason/aspect of a just punishment. He could have either let her hang or use the opportunity to send a warning sign to all court ladies, as a preventive measure, what’s the prize of betrayal and WS has always been shown as a pragmatic - yes, CR’s punishment was cruel, ruthless but also shrews and brilliant. That’s why Gwangjong managed to rule for 26 years as an absolute rule, like a god over the whole country and no one dared to defy him; that’s why he managed to free do many slaves.