Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied,
And vice sometime's by action dignified.
— William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet
When discussing virtue and vice, it is easy to wander down the road of morality, though in essence virtue is simply the good or useful qualities of a thing, whereas vice is a habitual and usually trivial defect or shortcoming. One does not have to look too far in literature to find examples of both. Authors are fond of espousing the dark and light sides of both.
Perhaps most famous, or infamous, are the seven deadly sins and the seven heavenly virtues as defined by Christianity. These attributes have been explored in a multitude of arenas including prose, poetry, music, and screen. From Shakespearean dramas to serial killers in crime fiction to persecuted knights in anime, human fascination with virtue and vice, and the way those qualities play out in different scenarios, transcend culture and socioeconomic background, illustrating their timeless nature—their universality.
Publication Date: October 12, 2022