Revenge is an action taken to inflict hurt or harm on someone or a group of people for a wrong suffered on their hands. The wrong may be real or perceived. To a large extent, the desire to seek revenge arises from a fundamental belief that there is need for compensation to the wrongs done to people. In Media for example, a woman seeks to revenge her husband’s betrayal of abandoning her for another woman. To an extent, she could have justified her actions by the fact that she had betrayed her own father and people for Jason her husband who was now turning against her. She decides to kill Jason’s new bride and her own children all in the name of revenge. Even though she may have done this to hurt Jason, she was also hurt on the process. She had to live contend with the guilt of having killed her own father and children. She also lost her husband who abandoned her to marry the daughter of the king of Corinth.
As illustrated in this example, people take revenge purely fore a personal content and satisfaction. Unfortunately, in most cases, this is never to be. Another example is the action by Orestes in The Oresteia who seeks to maintain the honor of their father’s blood line by killing his own mother and Aegisthus. His revenge was in defense of their throne lineage and the need to protect his life (Ewans, 2007). He was later pursued by furies for years. Media also had to feel the pain of having killed her own father and children. Revenge just breeds a cycle of contempt and hate and rarely serves its true purpose of giving a sense of satisfaction. It simply results into a pattern of destruction even if it is on a small scale. Seeking revenge is basically unnecessary and only tarnishes peoples’ characters.
The truth is that revenge can never empower an individual. It is a feeling that everyone must overcome. In most cases it usually backfires. It is like one trying to correct a wrong with a wrong while two wrongs can never make a right. An example is a couple who decides to meet infidelity with infidelity in an attempt to demonstrate her/his power over the other. This will only serves to breed more mistrust which will in turn strain the relationship. The amount of energy required in devising a revenge plan can never equal the amount of satisfaction it is supposed to yield.
To an extent, it may be true that the feeling of revenge is an inevitable part of being human. However, because of its consequences, pursuing revenge makes us less than human. Some legal professionals have advised that if one feels obliged to take revenge, the action should be one of justice. However, on the relationship between revenge and ethical concepts such as Justice and gratitude, legal theorists have maintained that justice is opposed to revenge. According to Nietzche, justice is simply a spiritualized revenge that comes from the thought that where suffering is there should be punishment. To him, vengeful justice must be overcome. Nietzsche argues that unlike punishment, which is revenge at its most human is worst, gratitude is good revenge. The act of gratitude therefore is the essence of justice which is more related to reconciliation.
In conclusion returning violence for violence multiplies violence. Such punishments as death penalties or terrorism attacks only work to make the world worse. They often produce a chain of destructive acts which can decimate nations and individuals. True healing is not produced by revenge but positive acts. This involves seeking to understand the cause of violence and then working to prevent the social conditions that contribute to such crimes.