Vengeful Defence Essay

790 words - 4 pages

The nineteenth century author William Makepeace Thackeray once said, “Revenge may be wicked, but it’s natural”. The need to right a wrong is in human nature. It has been in such a way since the beginning of humanity. In the stories “The Lamb to the Slaughter” by Rahl Dauhl, “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe, and “The Coffin” by Ray Bradbury, the main characters are all wronged by another person. All three go by their human nature to take revenge, and all three result in the death of another. Even though revenge is in human nature, revenge that results in death is only justifiable in cases of self defense.
To be considered as self defense, the defender must believe that they are being threatened. Charles in “The Coffin” always hated his lazy younger brother. One day, when he knew his death was near, he built a foolproof trap that would insure the death of him. Mary in “the Lamb to the Slaughter” lived as a normal housewife. She always cooked and cleaned, until one day when her husband informed her that he wanted to get a divorce. She was so devastated that she hit him on the head with the frozen leg of lamb she was preparing for dinner. Montresor in “The Cask of Amontillado” was once insulted by a man named Fortunado, and he “vowed revenge” (Poe). He tricked him into the catacombs, and then buried him alive. Mary Maloney and Charles Braling were both not being threatened. They both just tried to solve a problem in the cruelest of ways. It is impossible to know if Montresor was threatened, for he never revealed the insult that drove him to his actions. Two of the three characters were not being threatened by the person they took revenge upon.
For an act to be justified under self defense, the actions taken must not be too extreme. Mary Maloney was terrified of getting a divorce. She did not want her world to come to an end, so she overreacted. She killed her husband under the threat of losing him. Her reaction of murder was too extreme of a repercussion for the thought of a divorce. Montresor was insulted, so he killed a fellow human being in order to get revenge. His actions were far too extreme for any insult that could have...

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