Hana Shafi Is Revenge Worth It?

A friend and I were discussing revenge (ominous, I know). People often say that being successful and happy is the best revenge. My friend insisted that revenge is the best revenge. On one hand I’ve always enjoyed a good revenge flick, Kill Bill being a favourite, and on the other hand revenge can lead into a vicious cycle (I mostly got that from childhood cartoons where revenge schemes go wrong in the end). 

To forgive and forget seems like a noble perspective to take, and yet like any other value it depends entirely on context and situation. Perhaps there are some injustices done against us that cannot be forgiven and forgotten, some that only build up in us an overwhelming urge to get even. Many feel that in some situations, revenge is alright; if there’s no reason to have sympathy for a person, no extenuating circumstances that may justify what they’ve done against you then revenge is potentially justified. My friend argued that the need for revenge is one of the most relatable human experiences; look at the popularity of revenge tales stemming from ancient Greek tragedies to Tarantino. People like the idea of revenge, even if they would never pursue such action themselves. 

But revenge has its consequences and its complications, it can drive a situation even deeper into the muck and force us to confront questions of our own morality. Even if someone has done wrong against you, does it build better character to take the moral high road? Or does it entirely depend on the severity of the revenge you plan on dishing? It’s one thing to put laxatives in the drink of that rotten scoundrel who cheated on you and another thing to poke holes in his condoms (I condone neither). 

Perhaps knowing that he’s experiencing explosive diarrhea thanks to your cunning scheme will bring about a sense of emotional catharsis, but I have to wonder whether an act of revenge can really heal the wounds inflicted upon you by the initial act of injustice. Sure, he’s stuck on a toilet seat for a few hours but said dirty rotten scoundrel in question still cheated on you and nothing can erase that fact. Maybe for some the hilarity of their revenge can ease the sting of what was done against them, but for others the satisfaction is short lived, ultimately reminding them that they are still in the same situation.

Revenge is tempting, but I have to wonder if its worth it. I haven’t quite made up my mind; I prefer to harmlessly fantasize about revenge schemes that Lisbeth Salander would be proud of. 

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