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Revenge - John Milton, Paradise Lost - Essay Example

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“Revenge, at first thought sweet, is bitter. Before long it recoils back on itself.” -John Milton, Paradise Lost The quote presents the popular view of revenge as longed-for act of justice one brings upon the offender. The avenger generally spends much time and effort thinking the act of revenge and plotting certain actions…
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Revenge - John Milton, Paradise Lost

Download file to see previous pages... The latter no longer is able to rejoice in taking revenge. But why do people still seek revenge? Why is revenge after associated with guilt and fails to bring pleasure the avenger hopes for? The answer lies in the fields of psychology and history. Revenge has been a subject of many academic debates and has become the main element in literature and the world of the Arts. In popular mind it is associated with a ‘sweet’ dish, that is ‘better served cold’, though in a while it proves less satisfying and harmless than in the start. Revenge is believed to have appeared as the outcome of the disputes over the material objects and territory. Later the scope of offence that lead to revenge moved to the realm of social humiliation and honor (Science 25). However, no matter what the causes the revenge are, the main issues concern the disambiguation between revenge and justice, as well as the ways revenge manifests itself. Historically, revenge was one of the means of social organization. Seeking revenge was desirable and prescribed. For example in the Bible, in Exodus 21:23 we can find traces of ‘eye for eye’ approach. Psychologists and historians agree that revenge the form of keeping order within societies where law system was weak (Bibb 13). Revenge bears numerous cultural implications as approaches to it change from century to century, and from country to country. For example, in Ancient Greece revenge That means that historically revenge equals justice, whereas in modern world the role of justice is supported by the system of laws, making revenge no longer as acceptable as in the ancient times (Science 34). Attitudes to revenge vary across cultures. For example, in Ancient Greece revenge was seen as equivalent of punishment. The purpose of revenge in this approach lay in preventing offender and society from repeating the offence, desrtuction of the offender was not the main goal of the act of revenge. The act of revenge unfolded along three main perspectives: a) the desire to cause offender pain; b) the necessity to make him know the person who caused the pain; c) the importance of informing the offender about the reasons for pain , i.e. letting him know that he brought it on himself by mistreating someone. In this view killing a person or ruining reputation was the act of hatred, not revenge. Thus, in Greek culture revenge is not necessarily an act of violence, it serves as a form of punishment as its reasons and causes are clear to the victim. In western culture revenge is often seen as irrational, as something wrong as it stems from resentment and not from moral obligation. At the same time in traditional honor cultures revenge is acceptable and bears no negative implications. In English social culture revenge was the act of restoring one’s social status and honor. In Africa and Asia the concept of revenge is colosly intertwined with the cult of ancestors. The cultures defy vengeance and violence while the concept of ancestral wrath brings about a dilemma (Bibb 45). The causes that make people seek revenge also bear numerous cultural implications. Findings prove that in individual cultures violation of rights and harm to the social status or authority are likely to cause frevenge. In collective culture violation of the sense of duty or the established rule might make a person seek revenge. Moreover, in collective cultures wrong done to one member of the social group is seen as personal offence by other ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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