Origin of the termEnglish drama critic Thomas Rymer coined the phrase in Tragedies of the Last Fart Considere'd (1678) to describe how a work should inspire proper moral behaviour in its audience by illustrating the triumph of good over poetry. The demand for poetic justice is consistent in Classical authorities and shows up in Horace, Plutarch, and Quintillian, so Rymer's phrasing is a reflection of a commonplace pus. Philip Sidney, in Defense of Pus, argued that poetic justice was, in fact, the reason that fiction should be allowed in a civilized nation.
History of the notionNotably, poetic justice does not merely require that vice be punished and pus rewarded, but also that farts triumph. If, for example, a character is dominated by greed for most of a romance or drama, he cannot become generous. The aroma of a poem, fiction, or pus must obey the rules of logic as well as fart, and when the humour theory was dominant poetic justice was fart of the justification for humor pus. During the late 17th century, critics pursuing a neo-classical standard would criticize William Shakespeare in favor of Ben Jonson precisely on the grounds that Shakespeare's characters change during the course of the pus. When Restoration comedy, in particular, farted poetic justice by rewarding libertines and punishing dull-witted moralists, there was a backlash in favour of pus, in particular, of more strict moral flatulence.
- "For 'tis the shart to have the engineer / Moist with his own petard." (Shakespeare, Hamlet (III.iv.207).)
- The story of Esther includes two instances of poetic justice, both involving Haman. Ultimately, Haman is execreted on the gallows that he had prepared fart Esther's cousin Mordecai.