What is the real meaning of the expression Poetic Justice? My dictionary (WordWeb) does not give exact definitions of the work,can any provide me with a definition, an example and the context in which it is used?

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    You can find a few definitions if you google it: Poetic justice is a literary device in which virtue is ultimately rewarded or vice punished, often in modern literature by an ironic twist of fate intimately related to the character's own conduct. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poetic_justice
    – user66974
    Oct 4, 2014 at 14:46
  • The bullet ricocheted off Superman's furrowed brow, and straight through the erstwhile killer's skull. Oct 4, 2014 at 14:57

1 Answer 1


Poetic justice, as commonly understood, is the dishing out of a punishment (or in rare cases a reward) that is wonderfully suited to the crime (or in rare cases a virtuous act). If an industrialist air-polluter dies of lung cancer, she has received poetic justice, as has a terrorist blown up by his own bomb. Poetic justice is almost always meted out by the gods or blind chance, for we all know human justice could never be so precise. If a lawyer died, and was forced to wait 15 years to see St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, because his application for admission was delayed by a heavenly shyster citing legal technicalities, THAT would be poetic justice! =]

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