This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

A Characterization Of Revenge In Literature

1788 words - 8 pages

Revenge is a centerpiece of most conflicts within literature. In The Oresteia, All the King’s Men, and The Aeneid, there are three modes through which revenge can be exacted: premeditated dishonorable revenge, premeditated honorable revenge, and unplanned agitated revenge. These sometimes violent acts of emotion can reveal the purpose of a character as well as the role the character plays in either developing or resolving the many conflicts present within his story.
Characters who exact revenge upon others purposefully and dishonorably are typically antagonists who create new conflicts through their actions. In Agamemnon, when Clytemnestra “coil[s] [Agamemnon] round and round in… the robes ...view middle of the document...

In The Aeneid, Turnus kills Pallas is a dishonorable fashion, “stamp[ing] his left foot on the corpse and strip[ing] away [Pallas’s] sword-belt” (The Aeneid 10.586-587). While it may seem natural to take spoils during war, Virgil makes it clear that Turnus’s act was disgraceful by comparing the death of Pallas to the death of Lausus. When Aeneas kills Lausus, he does not loot the young man’s corpse; instead, Aeneas “lifted [Lausus’s] body off the ground” himself and delivered it to the enemy himself (The Aeneid 10.984-985). This makes the revenge Turnus takes on Evander, Pallas’s father, for “the welcome he gave Aeneas” wholly dishonorable (The Aeneid 10.585). This act creates a new conflict between Turnus and Aeneas that is only resolved at the end of the epic.
Characters who take revenge on others purposefully, but for an honorable reason, are generally the protagonists who bring about an end to conflicts created by the characters who exact revenge dishonorably. In The Aeneid, Aeneas is the character who does so when he “plants his iron sword hilt-deep in [Turnus’s] heart,” taking revenge on Turnus for killing Pallas (The Aeneid 12.1110). When he kills Turnus, Aeneas is able to resolve the previously mentioned conflict concerning Pallas’s death as well as the conflict between the two regarding the marriage of Lavinia. As Aeneas is the protagonist, these actions are seen as honorable, bringing about an end to the conflicts present in The Aeneid. In Aeschylus’s trilogy of plays, Orestes is the character who plays this role. After learning about Clytemnestra’s deeds, Orestes is commanded by Apollo to “avenge [his] father’s murder” (The Libation Bearers 21). Although he must kill his own mother, this act is not considered true matricide. Orestes was taken “red from [his] mother’s womb” and given to Cilissa, his wet-nurse (The Libation Bearers 736). This implies that “the woman who lovingly nourished the babe Orestes was not his mother” and that Clytemnestra had actually given up her claims of motherhood when Orestes was born (Whallon 273). Thus, Orestes is able to kill his “mother” honorably, and can resolve the conflict that exists within the House of Atreus. In All the King’s Men, Judge Irwin becomes a character who commits premeditated honorable revenge when he kills himself. In his death, he was able to take revenge on Willie Talos for blackmailing him, on Jack Burden for being an instrument of Talos, and on himself for having “cuckolded a friend, betrayed a wife, taken a bribe, [and] driven a man… to death” (Warren 493). However, from this violent act of suicide, Jack Burden is able to find out who is true father is, ending his internal conflict regarding the Scholarly Attorney. More importantly, Jack repudiates his concept of the Great Twitch after this incident, “becom[ing] convinced that… the Great Twitch is incompatible with life” and that all events are related to each other somehow (Lane 824). By doing so, Jack resolves the internal...

Find Another Essay On A Characterization of Revenge in Literature

Characterization of Rick in Casablanca Essay

777 words - 4 pages Casablanca is a film set in Morocco during the Second World War. Because of the setting, the characters are under French rule and therefore are not allowed to support the Allied movement. Things however get interesting when Victor Laszlo and his wife Ilsa Lund come through Casablanca in hopes of escaping to America. Their arrival stirred up many remarkably painful memories for the major character Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart). Rick is an

A Quantitative Characterization of Cross Coverage

992 words - 4 pages With increasing design complexity, effective and comprehensive verification of hardware and embedded systems, especially functional verification, has become a key concern in VLSI and hardware/software system development . It is generally believed the majority of RTL design efforts are spent in functional verification . Murphy's Law states ``if anything can go wrong, it will.'' Even brilliant engineering projects can be marred by trivial mistakes

Discuss the characterization and the role of Mumbi in the novel " A Grain of Wheat"

549 words - 2 pages In the novel "A Grain of Wheat" written by Ngugi WA Thiong'o the character of Mumbi can be described as a beautiful and very influential figure for example "her eyes were soft and submissive and defiant". With her beauty and natural charisma she is used to link all the important themes, ideas, characters and even some of the symbols of the novel. Ngugi makes use of a number of different themes to convey his ideologies, it is in these themes that

“The ethical endorsement of revenge in the society of the novella Chronicle of a Death Foretold”

1535 words - 7 pages What is revenge? Revenge is an action of hurting or harming someone to retaliate for an injury or wrong suffered at his or her hands. In ‘Chronicles of a Death Foretold’, the theme of revenge is the primary reason behind the unfolding of the entire narrative. The play is set in a Latin American society, where actions taken to in order to avenge honor and virginity are completely justified. In Latin America, vengeance is sought against those who

Methods of Characterization in The Hairy Ape

2507 words - 10 pages Methods of Characterization in The Hairy Ape Eugene Gladstone O’Neill was born October 16, 1888, to Irish-American parents in New York City. His mother, Ella O’Neill, reserved and genteel (Sheaffer 15), came from a prosperous Cleveland family. His father, James O’Neill, from a poor family, was an actor who became synonymous with Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo, a role he performed over 3000 times (Sheaffer 8). Driven by fear of

Characterization of LYM Genes in Medicago Truncatula

1705 words - 7 pages Characterization of LYM genes in Medicago truncatula. M. truncatula contains a large family of genes encoding LysM-domain containing receptor-like proteins (Arrighi et al., 2006). In addition, several proteins containing single or multiple LysM domains can be predicted from available sequencing resources. Among these, two transcripts encoding proteins with structural homology to the chitin elicitor-binding protein CEBiP from rice (Oryza sativa

Is "Hamlet" primarily a tragedy of revenge

1000 words - 4 pages fake). The progression of Hamlet is quite astonishing he begins as a young prince with the world in his hand, to a lunatic who becomes obsessed with revenging his fathers death. The revenge theme is acted upon throughout the novel and is essentially what drives Hamlet. He believes that Claudius has killed his father (we later find out this is true), this begins his investigating. We can be easily fooled by Hamlets insanity but there is

Reliability of a Narrator in Literature

733 words - 3 pages the story. The reader should be able to step into the shoes of one of the characters. In the stories listed above, one can conclude that narration is key to having a successful story. Bibliography: Works Cited Arp, Thomas R. (1998). Perrine's Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense. New York: Harcourt Brace and Company. King, Stephen. (1982). Different Seasons. New York: Penguin Books Ltd.

The Experience of a Journey in Literature

1717 words - 7 pages skrzynchi’s poems “Crossing the Red Sea” and Migrant Hostel”. In addition to David Marr’s article “Life in Limbo” and Nooria Wazefadost life story article “A young refugees plea for a better future”. It is through these texts that the composers convey their experiences of the journey, using effective techniques, which helps the responder, understand that the choices being made by individuals have an overall affect on the journey they are undertaking

Is Hamlet Primarily a Tragedy of Revenge

794 words - 4 pages before he has the opportunity to successfully assassinate Claudius. The families suffer from constant thoughts of vengeance which ultimately leads their demise Claudius envy eventually gets the better of him and compels him io butcher his brother, Lord Hamlet Claudius finds himself in the shadow to Hamlet Hamlet to avenge his death. Trthou his murder thy detail father son The Revenge point of and his his foul in to his Ghosts didst of his brother

Revenge is Not So Sweet in A Tale of Two Cities

1023 words - 5 pages The French Revolution took place at the time when the poor peasants who had been mistreated, revolted against the wealthy and cruel aristocrats. When they did this, it was bloody, chaotic, and no lived were spared in their conquest for revenge. In Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, the French Revolution is depicted through the lives of both peasants and aristocrats. The Marquis St. Evermonde and the whole Evermonde family treated many of

Similar Essays

Private Revenge In Literature Essay

1058 words - 5 pages consumed with a desire for revenge keeps his own wounds open which otherwise would heal” (Bacon). Bacon’s idea of private revenge is present in other literature such as “The Interlopers” by Saki, “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare, and in the “Autobiography of Takashi Tanemori”. “The Interlopers” by Saki relates to Bacon’s ideas on private revenge as two men are hurt in the act of seeking revenge. In the past, Ulrich Gradwits and Georg

Welty's Characterization In A Curtain Of Green

2612 words - 10 pages Welty's Characterization in A Curtain of Green          Myth, symbol, and allusion are not an uncommon characteristic in Eudora Welty's works. By using characters such as Odysseus and leaving hints of symbolism in works such as The Optimist's Daughter Welty places many questions in the minds of her readers. After a reader has pondered these questions a categorization of the story takes place in the readers mind. Although different readers

A Short Characterization On A Character Named Darcourt In A Short Story. Example Of A Characterization

516 words - 2 pages DarcourtIn The Lyre of Orpheus, Robertson Davies writes about a character named Simon Darcourt who is a Professor of Greek and Latin and is on the board of Directors of the Cornish Foundation. He is also a self-diagnosed "boozer" who hopes to help a young woman's dream come true by giving her a scholarship. Right away the character Darcourt shows a contradiction in the way he conducts himself publicly and how he conducts himself personally. This

Characterization In A Classic Novel Essay

558 words - 2 pages Characterization in a Classic Novel      Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is the story of a scientist, Victor Frankenstein, and his quest to create life from death. Frankenstein’s experiment goes dreadfully wrong and he is forced to flee from the monster he created. Throughout this novel, Frankenstein is characterized by his extreme intelligence, skepticism and withdrawn behavior, and remorse.     &nbsp