You only have one bullet left. There is no time for rash decisions; you have only one chance, and you have to make it count. You wait for the right signal that will finally unleash the pent-up emotions that have been eating away at you like acid. You only have one bullet left and it's called Revenge. There are many examples in the literary world, and countless writers have made an effort to capture this poisonous feeling. Revenge is alluring and addictive and proves to be irresistible for those who strive to capture the different aspects of the human condition. From the pits of hatred, sadness, exhaustion, and self-loathing, revenge lies in wait, stoking the fires that make the rage burn brighter and hotter.
The great writer and linguistic's professor, J.R.R Tolkien, once said, "It is useless to meet revenge with revenge; it will heal nothing." He was right: this vicious feeling can only sow more discontent, creating an eternal loop of dissatisfaction and pain. Sometimes the more benign emotions like love can spur revenge forward, because the former can become distorted and sickly.
Revenge is never pleasurable and if it is, then it is only fleeting.
The following compilation of works perfectly embody this terrible monster, whose pernicious presence can only be excised through death or other tragic means.
Three Great Plays: Medea / Hippolytus / Helen
Medea betrays her father, kills her brother, and saves Jason –who she considers to be the love of her life– so he can move forward. However, he in turns betrays her with the daughter of Creon. Her thirst for revenge leads to terrifying consequences. Violent love, brutal murder, pride, temptation, and revenge are all perfectly detailed by Euripides. His characters are magnificent as they are compelled to act viscerally and probe deep into their own hearts and tormented souls.
Will you, I pray, demand that demi-devil
Why he hath thus ensnared my soul and body?
-Othello, end of Act V
Shakespeare creates a gripping drama that begins with passionate love and fascination between the beautiful Venetian lady Desdemona and the exotic moor, Othello. It starts with an elopement and mutual devotion and ends in jealous rage, revenge, and violent deaths.
A wild story of the intense and obsessive love between Catherine and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine's father. Heathcliff suffers deep humiliation at the hands of Hindley and is convinced that his love is not reciprocated. He returns years later as a wealthy man and proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. A true masterpiece.
Juan Pablo Castel is a talented painter who meets Maria Iribarne and becomes obsessed with her. The more he forces his way into her life, the more jealous he becomes. Soon, his insecurities and violent jealousy take over his life and Maria's.
The Last Encounter (Embers)
The Last Encounter focuses on the life-long friendship between Henrik and Konrad. Set during the splendor and elegance of Vienna, the story reveals the secret affair between Konrad and Henrik's wife. The affair takes the backseat in this story and instead delves into the true meaning of friendship. After 40 years of separation, the two friends finally meet in a decaying castle where Henrik spends his life waiting for answers to the questions that took him decades to formulate.
A missive Oscar Wilde wrote to his lover, Alfred Douglas, also known as Bosie. A heartfelt and emotional literary piece written during his time in prison. He repudiates Bosie for his arrogance and vanity, and he never forgets Douglas's careless remark when he was ill:"When you are not on your pedestal you are not interesting." Thanks to this harrowing experience, Wilde ends up feeling redemption and fulfillment; he realizes that his hardships fill his soul with experience and only times takes the edge off of the bitter aftertaste.
The Paradox Of Love
The sexual revolution brought about birth control, liberalization of divorce, greater equality, and more tolerance of homosexuality, among others. But with this new freedom, we must face new burdens and rules because the old norms have been effaced. Now we must contend with jealousies, demand for infidelity, and an ongoing tug of war between constancy and inconstancy. It is no wonder we are baffled by love, sex, and relationships. We live in an era of paradoxes, especially concerning love.
The Cherry Battles
Günther Anders and Hannah Arendt got married in 1929 and divorced in 1937. After her passing in 1975, Günther retrieves all the notes and philosophical discussions the couple had during the early years of their marriage. This book recalls the happy times they shared together in Berlin, and he is keenly aware that Arendt was the great love of his life. A story that pieces together all the conversations they shared at the time.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Choderlos de Laclos
The thin line between seduction and revenge is blurred in Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1782). It seen as one of the most controversial novels in European literature. The novel's main characters, the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil, form an alliance and begin a twisted seduction game. Critics of its time called it "diabolical" and "infamous," epithets that suit very well the feeling of revenge.
Revenge and spite are two deadly weapons we all employ at least once in our lives. It is a corrosive poison that overpowers the purest and most innocent feelings we are capable of. As Othello grips Desdemona's strawberry handkerchief and loses his mind to his jealousy, we are reminded how close to the surface our own inner demons lie.
If you are an avid reader and book lover, you'll be interested in expanding your already vast library: