Friedrich Nietzsche, The Wanderer and His Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten).

The Wanderer and his Shadow, the second supplement to Human, All Too Human, first published in 1880.


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Previous Section   24. JUDGING THE CRIMINAL AND HIS JUDGE   Next Section

Judging the Criminal and his Judge.  The criminal, who knows the whole concatenation of circumstances, does not consider his act so far beyond the bounds of order and comprehension as does his judge.  His punishment, however, is measured by the degree of astonishment that seizes the judge when he finds the crime incomprehensible.  If the defending counsel's knowledge of the case and its previous history extends far enough, the so called extenuating circumstances which he duly pleads must end by absolving his client from all guilt.  Or, to put it more plainly, the advocate will, step by step, tone down and finally remove the astonishment of the judge, by forcing every honest listener to the tacit avowal, "He was bound to act as he did, and if we punished, we should be punishing eternal Necessity”.  Measuring the punishment by the degree of knowledge we possess or can obtain of the previous history of the crime — is that not in conflict with all equity?  

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Ecce Homo" Ebook

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