50 Quintessential Poetic Justice Quotes For Life’s Ironies

Feel the irony with these poetic justice quotes.

You hear and see the phrase all the time, but what exactly is poetic justice?

Poetic justice is when a conflict is settled, and in the end, the vice is punished, and they reward the virtue.

Tell us your favorite poetic justice quote in the comment section below.

What are the benefits of reading these poetic justice quotes?

There is usually an ironic twist in how this manifests.

In fact, there are a few main concepts surrounding poetic justice, including:

  • irony
  • logic
  • morality

For example, let us say a manager at a job gets power-hungry and treats his employees poorly.

A week later, he loses his job.

This would be an example of poetic justice.

Another element of classic poetic justice is that logic must also triumph besides the virtue being rewarded and vice punished.

We see poetic justice manifest all the time.

Some people associate it with the idea of karma because it’s usually an occasion when something terrible happens to a person who seems to deserve it, usually because of bad things that person has done.

Poetic justice iconic lines quotes

1. “Retribution. Poetic justice. Just deserts. Comeuppance.” — Alex Flinn

2. “There may be more poetry than justice in poetic justice.” George Will

3. “Sir Storm, I have decided that you are a god of poetic justice.” Victoria Danann

4. “The problem with poetic justice is that it never knows when to stop.” Barry Hughart

5. “I have decided that the problem with poetic justice is that it never knows when to stop.” — Barry Hughart

6. “And there was a wonderful thing that tended to happen, something that felt like poetic justice.” Dave Eggers

7. “The history of mankind is a romance, a mask, a tragedy, constructed upon the principles of poetical justice.” William Hazlitt

8. “If the church does not identify with the marginalized, it will itself be marginalized. This is God’s poetic justice.” Timothy Keller

9. “It’s as though men are prone to policing their wives than husbanding them; so, as though to celebrate the poetic justice to their predicament, won’t women turn gleeful whenever they cuckold their caretakers?” B.S. Murthy

10. “You will never be able to experience everything. So, please, do poetical justice to your soul and simply experience yourself.” Albert Camus

Quotes about poetic justice

11. “Poetic justice, poetic justice.. if I told you that a flower bloom in a dark room would you trust it. I mean I write poems in these songs.” Kendrick Lamar

12. “The world to him was a battlefield, but his sense of poetic justice, his sublime faith in life and its infinite resources, guided the battles.” Bjornstjerne Bjornson

13. “You could have been top banana, now you’re potential poetic justice, for someone with bad karma to slip on. And go skidding as you go squish.” Stewart Stafford

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14. “There is just no way for the living creature to avoid life and death, and it is probably poetic justice that if he tries too hard to do so, he destroys himself.” Ernest Becker

15. “I was a huge movie watcher, but I really loved ‘Kenan & Kel,’ ‘Rugrats,’ ‘Doug,’ & ‘Catdog.’ I was also into drama films, though, and I really loved ‘Poetic Justice’ and ‘Set it Off.’” Raven Goodwin

16. “I can only end up with one, and I must leave many lonely by the wayside. So that is all for now. Perhaps someday someone will leave me by the wayside. And that will be poetic justice.” Sylvia Plath

17. “No, what I felt was the torment of waiting, stuck between the end of one sentence and the beginning of the next which might or might not bring a hail storm, plane crash, poetic justice, or a miraculous reversal.” Nicole Krauss

Poetic justice meaning quotes

18. “Revenge is a kind of wild justice; which the more man’s nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out.” Francis Bacon

19. “That was just too embarrassing, although there was a sort of poetic justice to peeing on your enemies when they weren’t able to get to you. And it wasn’t like they would kill me less painfully if I didn’t pee on them.” Elle Casey

20. “Green grass, green grandstands, green concession stalls, green paper cups, green folding chairs and visors for sale, green and white ropes, green-topped Georgia pines. If justice were poetic, Hubert Green would win it every year.” John Updike

21. “He wanted to laugh at the poetic justice of it all. After a couple of years of chasing after women and then a decade of having them chase after him, he’d finally been brought down by a slip of a girl, fresh out of Cornwall, whom he was honor-bound to protect.” Julia Quinn

22. “The past is dangerous, not least because it cannot go away. It is simply there, never to change, and in its constancy it reflects the eternity of God. It presents to the young mind a vast field of fascination, of war and peace, loyalty and treason, invention and folly, bitter twists of fate and sweet poetic justice.” Anthony Esolen

Poetic justice poem quotes

23. “Poetic justice, with her lifted scale, where, in nice balance, truth with gold she weighs, and solid pudding against empty praise.” Alexander Pope

24. “It had long been the more or less definitely expressed theory of the North that all the chief problems of Emancipation might be settled by establishing the slaves on the forfeited lands of their masters – a sort of poetic justice, said some.” W. E. B. Du Bois

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25. “That his young opponent, who had been irritating him unspeakably since the beginning of the game with advice and criticism, should have done exactly what he had cautioned him, the farmer, against a moment before, struck him as being the finest example of poetic justice he had ever heard of, and he signalized his appreciation of the same by nearly dying of apoplexy.” P.G. Wodehouse

Actual examples of poetic justice quotes

26. “The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Albert Einstein

27. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” J. K. Rowling

28. “It requires more courage to suffer than to die.” Napoleon Bonaparte

29. “It is not best to swap horses while crossing the river.” Abraham Lincoln

30. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

31. “Good music is good music, and everything else can go to hell.” Dave Matthews

32. “It’s not that I’m so smart , it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Albert Einstein

33. “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”  Albert Einstein

34. “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”  Albert Einstein

35. “I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.” Augusten Burroughs

36. “The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.” Albert Einstein

37. “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”  Albert Einstein

38. “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” Albert Einstein

39. “As long as you can savor the humorous aspect of misery and misfortune, you can overcome anything.” John Candy

Poetic justice quotes about lessons learned

40. “They deem me mad for I will not sell my days for gold; I deem them mad for they think my days have a price.” Kahlil Gibran

41. “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Albert Einstein

42. “A boy can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down.” Robert Benchley

43. “We don’t ask a flower any special reason for its existence. We just look at it and are able to accept it as being something different from ourselves.” Gwendolyn Brooks

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44. “He who joyfully marches in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice.” — Albert Einstein

45. “What is love? As far as I can tell, it is passion, admiration, and respect. If you have two, you have enough. If you have all three, you dont have to die to go to heaven.” William Wharton

More poetic justice quotes to consider

46. “Happines is like mercury. Hard to hold, and when we drop it, it shatters into a million pieces. Maybe the bravest of all are those who have the courage to reach for it again.” Mary Higgins Clark

47. “We enjoy warmth because we have been cold. We appreciate light because we have been in darkness. By the same token, we can experience joy because we have known sadness.” David Weatherford

48. What do you mean? Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good on this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?” J. R. R. Tolkien

49. “It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter because you can invent things. But in photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary.” David Bailey

50. “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It’s the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and science. Whoever does not know it can no longer wander, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed.”
Albert Einstein

What did you learn about poetic justice?

Poetic justice is usually woven into the framework of any good story.

It does not matter if it is a novel, movie, cartoon, comic, novella, or your favorite streamed series; all good stories have some poetic justice.

It can come from good being rewarded with a happy ending or someone attempting to do something awful, and the results end up turning out positively.

Poetic justice is when the kid in high school who was bullied ends up successfully running a business, and the bullies who tormented him have to come and apply for a job at his establishment.

Why do people notice poetic justice?

Well, we do not live in a perfect world, so poetic justice does not always occur.

It is nice to imagine that we should reward virtuous people for their deeds, but we do not have a shared standard view of what is virtuous.

Clifton Sankofa has Master's degrees in English, Teaching, and School Leadership. He is a veteran educator and school leader. Clifton has built his career around teaching language arts, social-emotional learning, hip-hop(e), and vegan cooking. Across the country, Black and Brown communities die over preventable diseases. Clifton's aim is to help reverse this trend through cultural shifts. Using hip-hop and cultural-centered activities, he educates young people on how to reclaim their health and heritage through sustainable vegan eating, cooking practices, and literacy skills.
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