Poetic justice is a literary device in which ultimately virtue is rewarded and viciousness is punished. In current usage it is often accompanied by an ironic twist of fate related to the individual in question’s own actions and behaviour.
‘Getting a taste of one’s own medicine’
Typically medicine don’t taste nice. Thus, if you make people feel unappreciated, insecure, jealous and anxious, you’ve little right to complain if they turn around and do the same back to you.
‘What goes around, comes around’
Similarly, what goes around comes around, means that if you treat people badly, you can’t be too surprised if one day you find yourself being treated in that same kind of way.
Poetic justice noun
The fact of experiencing a fitting or deserved retribution for one’s actions.
The punishment inflicted on someone as vengeance for their wrong doing or criminal actions.
The punishment inflicted or retribution exacted for causing an injury or having done something wrong.
A form of behaviour showing high moral standards.
To be deliberately cruel and/or violent.
‘By hook or by crook’ is an English phrase meaning “by any means necessary”, suggesting that any means possible should be taken to accomplish a goal. The phrase is old and the first currently known written instance of it is the Middle English Controversial Tracts of John Wycliffe.
One way, or another, I’m gunna gunna get ya
John Wycliffe (c. 1323–1384) was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, reformer and a professor at the University of Oxford. He became an influential dissident within the Roman Catholic priesthood during the 14th c. and is considered an important predecessor to Protestantism.
A message in a bottle is a form of communication in which a message is sealed in a container (typically a bottle) and thrown into the sea.
Messages in bottles have been used to send (1) distress messages and/or to carry letters or reports from those believing themselves to be doomed (2), in scientific studies of ocean currents, as memorial tributes and (3), to send deceased loved ones’ ashes on a final journey.
Love letters have also been sent as messages in bottles. Indeed, the lore surrounding messages in bottles has often been of a romantic or poetic nature.
Nowadays, the phrase, message in a bottle, has expanded to include metaphorical uses (uses beyond its traditional and literal meaning). Say for example, sending an estranged lover an email begging for a reprieve whilst knowing a reply, let alone a reprieve is rather unlikely.
The idiom clutching at straws is therefore meant to refer to a drowning person grasping for anything, even a straw, to save their life (straw, like wooden logs, floats on water but, whereas a log wouldn’t sink if a person were to hold on to it for dear life*, straw probably would sink). Nowadays, the phrase has come to mean something like this:
— to act or make a decision, usually in desperation, without there being much hope of success.
* British English 🇬🇧 is full of references to the sea because, being an island, have a deep relationship with the seas and, if you were at sea and had fallen overboard (off of a boat or a ship) you’d hope not to end up in, Davy Jones’ Locker.
Davy Jones’ Locker is an idiom for the bottom of the sea: the state of death among drowned sailors and shipwrecks. The phrase then is used as a euphemism for drowning (at sea) 🏴☠️.