poetical justice

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poetical justice

in literature, an outcome in which vice is punished and virtue rewarded, usually in a manner peculiarly or ironically appropriate. The term was coined by the English literary critic Thomas Rymer in the 17th century, when it was believed that a work of literature should uphold moral principles and instruct the reader in correct moral behaviour.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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