an eye for an eye quotes

The phrase “an eye for an eye” is one of the most widely known and oft-quoted sayings in the world. It has been used throughout history to describe a type of justice, one that is based on retribution and equal punishment. The phrase comes from the Bible, specifically from the book of Exodus, and it has been interpreted by many cultures and religions in different ways. In this article, we will explore the meaning behind this phrase and consider its implications for justice today.”Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” – Matthew 5:38
“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image” – Genesis 9:6
“Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly” – Deuteronomy 32:35

The Origin of ‘An Eye for an Eye’

The phrase “an eye for an eye” is one of the oldest known legal principles, dating back to ancient Babylonian and Hebrew law. The phrase is found in the Bible’s Old Testament, in the book of Exodus (21:23-25). In this passage, it is stated that if someone injures another person, they must suffer a punishment equal to the injury inflicted.

This principle of retribution was enshrined in other ancient legal systems such as those of Assyria and Persia. It was also adopted by early Islamic jurisprudence, which took its inspiration from Hebrew law. In Islamic countries, this principle became known as “qisas” or “equivalent retribution”.

The concept of an eye for an eye dates back even further than the Old Testament—it can be found in ancient Sumerian texts from 2000 BC. The Sumerians believed that justice should be done according to a strict code and that offenders should be punished in proportion to their crimes.

The idea of an eye for an eye has been influential throughout history and has shaped many legal systems around the world. In some countries, it is still seen as a just form of punishment—a way to ensure balance and fairness between two parties who have been wronged or injured. However, many modern societies have moved away from this kind of retributive justice and instead focus on rehabilitation or restorative justice approaches.

Despite its long history, the phrase “an eye for an eye” has also become a popular saying outside of legal contexts. It is often used to express a desire for revenge or retaliation against someone who has wronged us—a sentiment that is not necessarily condoned by modern society!

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi, the pre-eminent leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India, famously expressed his opinion on ‘An Eye for An Eye’ in his book ‘Hind Swaraj’. He rejected the notion and questioned its morality. He argued that “if we take an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, soon the whole world will be blind and toothless.” Gandhi believed that instead of revenge, justice should be based on love and forgiveness. He actively promoted non-violence as a means of achieving justice and advocated for peaceful resolution of conflicts.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr., an American civil rights leader who led the African American Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s, also spoke out against ‘An Eye for An Eye’. He believed that it was wrong to seek revenge because it only caused more violence and destruction. Instead, he advocated for peaceful protest to achieve justice. In his famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, he stated: “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.” In other words, King argued that revenge would only lead to further hatred and violence while forgiveness could bring about peace and harmony.

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Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II was another influential figure who opposed ‘An Eye for An Eye’. In one of his addresses at St Peter’s Square, he stated: “We must reject an eye for an eye mentality which produces a society where everyone is blind.” He argued that seeking revenge would only lead to further suffering and destruction. The Pope believed in forgiveness rather than retribution, as it was a more effective way to achieve peace and justice. He encouraged people to resolve conflicts through dialogue rather than violence or revenge.

Quotes about Vengeance and Retaliation

Vengeance and retaliation are two powerful emotions that can have both positive and negative outcomes. While some may believe that justice can only be found through retribution, others consider it a sign of weakness. Quotes about vengeance and retaliation often reflect the complexities of these emotions. Here are some quotes to help you reflect on this subject:

“Revenge is empty, it will never bring back what was lost.” – Unknown

“The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.” – Marcus Aurelius

“If you are seeking revenge, dig two graves.” – Chinese Proverb

“Revenge is a confession of pain.” – Latin Proverb

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand.” – William Shakespeare

“He who takes revenge should remember to dig two graves.” – Chinese Proverb

“The most dangerous thing in the world is that of a person who seeks revenge for a just cause.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Vengeance has no foresight.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi

An Eye for an Eye

The phrase “an eye for an eye” is a well-known expression used to describe the principle of justice in which a person who has been wronged is granted the same level of punishment as the one who wronged them. This phrase has been around for centuries and is often associated with the Old Testament of the Bible. The exact origin of this phrase is still debated, but it has been used throughout history as a way to promote fairness in society. Despite its long-standing popularity, an eye for an eye has come under increasing criticism in recent years due to its potential for perpetuating a cycle of violence.

The idea of “an eye for an eye” can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as Egypt and Babylon, where it was used as a form of retribution. This concept was then adopted by Jewish religious leaders and eventually became part of the Mosaic law which was included in the Old Testament. In this context, it was used to describe how offenders should be punished according to their crime; those who had committed serious offences were to receive harsher punishments than those who had committed lesser ones.

Over time, however, this view on justice has become increasingly unpopular due to its potential for creating cycles of revenge and violence. Critics argue that punishing someone with the same level of severity as the crime they committed only serves to perpetuate a culture of violence and retribution rather than one of peace and reconciliation. In addition, many people believe that an eye for an eye does not take into account mitigating factors such as intent or remorse which could lead to more lenient punishments being handed down.

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In spite of its detractors, “an eye for an eye” remains a widely-recognized concept in Western societies and continues to be seen by many people as a fair and just way to deal with wrongdoers. While its critics may argue that it does not always achieve justice or allow room for mercy, there are still many who view it as a necessary tool in maintaining order within society and ensuring that offenders are held accountable for their actions.

An Eye for an Eye

When faced with unjust treatment, many people feel the urge to respond in kind. This is known as ‘an eye for an eye’, a phrase that has been around since biblical times. It suggests that when someone wrongs us, we should “get even” with them by doing something equally bad back.

However, retaliating in this way is rarely a good idea. Though it may feel satisfying in the moment, it can make the situation worse and lead to further conflict and resentment. It also doesn’t really solve anything; all it does is perpetuate a cycle of retaliation and revenge.

The best way to respond to unfair treatment is with compassion and understanding. Instead of trying to get back at someone who has wronged you, try to look at things from their perspective and find a way to resolve the issue peacefully. This might mean having a conversation or compromising on a solution that works for both of you.

It’s also important to remember that sometimes things just happen and they aren’t necessarily done out of malice or spite. If someone does something wrong but it was an honest mistake, responding with kindness can be more effective than retaliating in anger or frustration.

Finally, if you are feeling overwhelmed by the injustice you have experienced, it can be helpful to talk to someone about it or seek professional help if needed. This can help you process your feelings so that you can find a constructive way forward instead of responding with ‘an eye for an eye’.

Justice and Retribution Quotes

Justice and retribution are integral aspects of ensuring a safe and equitable society. Throughout history, wise minds have offered up their insight on the importance of these elements, often doing so in compelling and memorable ways. Here is a collection of quotes that touch on justice and retribution and help to provide perspective on their value to society.

“Justice without force is impotent; force without justice is tyranny.” – Blaise Pascal

“Justice is the constant and perpetual will to allot to every man his due.” – Justinian I

“True justice is not a matter of cleverness but of conscience.” – Francois de La Rochefoucauld

“Justice consists not in being neutral between right and wrong, but in finding out the right and upholding it, wherever found, against the wrong.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“Retribution is a dish best served cold.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“It’s not enough for justice to be done; it must also be seen to be done.” – Anonymous

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“Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand, blood and revenge are hammering in my head.” – Thomas Dekker

“Vengeance is not always sweet; those who hurt you can sometimes outlive their wrongs.” – William Shakespeare

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“The more laws, the less justice.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

An Eye for an Eye

The proverb ‘An eye for an eye’ is one of the oldest and most well-known adages, and is believed to have originated in the ancient Hebrew legal system. The phrase is still used today to refer to a system of punishment where a person responsible for a wrong or crime is made to suffer the same kind of pain or suffering that they inflicted on another. It’s often used in situations where retribution is sought and justice needs to be served.

The idea of ‘an eye for an eye’ has been adopted by many cultures throughout history. In some cases, it was used as a form of revenge, while in others, it was seen as a way to maintain fairness and balance in society. With this proverb, the thought is that if someone wrongs you, then you should do the same to them so that justice can be served and balance restored. While this may seem like an effective way of dealing with issues at first glance, it’s important to remember that two wrongs don’t make a right.

The proverb ‘an eye for an eye’ has its roots in old religious texts such as the Bible’s Old Testament. It’s often seen as an outdated concept, however, since it does not promote peace or reconciliation but instead encourages further violence and retaliation. While retribution may be understandable in certain cases, it can also lead to further conflict and unrest if not handled carefully and with restraint.

At its core, ‘an eye for an eye’ speaks to the importance of justice and accountability in society. It reminds us that no one should be allowed to get away with wronging another person without facing consequences for their actions. However, even though this proverb has been around for centuries, it’s important to look beyond its literal meaning when considering how best to resolve conflicts between individuals or groups. Rather than seeking revenge or retaliation against those who have wronged us, we should strive instead for more peaceful solutions that promote understanding and healing rather than animosity and hatred.


The quote “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind” encourages us to look beyond revenge and think about how our actions will affect the world as a whole. We must strive to find ways to peacefully resolve conflicts and put an end to violence and destruction. We need to recognize that when we act out of hate, we only perpetuate more hatred. When we take a step back and consider the consequences of our actions, we can create a better future for everyone.

We should not let our emotions cloud our judgement or lead us down a path of revenge. Instead, we should look for ways to forgive those who have wronged us and focus on building peace and harmony in the world. This is the only way forward if we are to create a better future for all.

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