Mercy  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Mercy (Middle English, from Anglo-French merci, from Medieval Latin merced-, merces, from Latin, "price paid, wages", from merc-, merx "merchandise") can refer both to compassionate behaviour on the part of those in power (e.g. mercy shown by a judge toward a convict) or on the part of a humanitarian third party (e.g. a mission of mercy aiming to treat war victims). Mercy is a term used to describe the leniency or compassion shown by one person to another, or a request from one person to another to be shown such leniency or compassion. One of the basic virtues of chivalry and Christian ethics, it is also related to concepts of justice and morality in behaviour between people. In India, compassion is known as karuna.

In a legal sense, a defendant having been found guilty of a capital crime may ask for clemency from being executed.

To be "mercy", the behavior generally can not be compelled by outside forces. (A famous literary example is from The Merchant of Venice when Portia asks Shylock to show mercy. He asks, On what compulsion, must I? She responds The quality of mercy is not strained.)

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mercy" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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