The Necessity Of Revenge

REVENGE IS a complex concept. At its core is the desire for vengeance or retribution motivated by perceived wrongdoing. The perpetrator, the one who carried out the unforgivable slight, the immoral act, the unforgettable harm, must pay for their transgression, and they must pay in a manner that will equal the pain and suffering of the injured party: an eye for an eye.

Justice, as carried out lawfully by police, a judge, and a jury is insufficient to the one seeking revenge. Justice signifies the punishment or the severity of said punishment is in the hands, the judgment of others. And that precludes the transgressor from getting caught and subsequently proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Someone seeking revenge over justice is someone who has no faith in a system outside their control, for there is too much left to chance. The aggrieved cannot abide decisions made without input or involvement from them concerning the severity and manner of their enemy’s punishment.

And sometimes, the injured party wants payback, plain and simple, not justicejustice is ultimately unsatisfying. They want to feel the pleasure of having destroyed the malefactor themselves, getting their own hands dirty, and reclaiming their power.

Some believe that enacting revenge lowers you to the perpetrator’s level, lessening you as a person. Some also feel that the act of revenge, even just the desire to “get back” at the person or persons who have wronged you, prohibits emotional and psychological healing. The inability to let go of grudges and bitterness ultimately makes a person unhappy and depressed, creating only a cycle of retaliation.

(Photo Credit: Ahmed Adly)

Perhaps, but for some, the necessity to make sure the perpetrator’s punishment is agreeable to their sense of fairness and equivalency makes revenge ultimately rewarding. And that reward of retribution is a need to feel satisfaction and gratification to move forward with their life.

What about forgiveness? Well, if you are at the point of desiring full-scale retribution, the forgiveness of transgression is not an option. Some sins are unforgivable.

In Vindictive and Vindictive Too, this is the path many characters walk, but none more so than Jules Cartell. She takes a page from Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince: “People should either be caressed or crushed. If you do them minor damage, they will get their revenge; but if you cripple them, there is nothing they can do.” Jules’s intention towards her transgressors is a level of pain and punishment that will prevent her enemy from future retaliation.

Her plan of revenge is methodical, brutal, and performed over time. Like Dickens wrote in A Tale of Two Cities, “Vengeance and retribution require a long time; it is the rule.” To maximize the pain and suffering of her enemies, especially her husband, Jules’s revenge scheme spans a significant amount of time, roughly two years.

In Vindictive, I wanted to show that even an unlikable character such as Jules had reasons for why she invested so much in acting cruel, vicious, and manipulative towards others, especially those who appeared weaker or innocent. Jules is a creation of circumstances outside her control. She is intelligent, capable, ambitious, and maybe more than a little self-centred, but she is not inherently cold or mean-spirited. She is a woman done wrong. I want the reader to see how an act, or acts, of violence against someone, could push them towards a level of vindictiveness that only travelling the path of revenge could satiate.

Does revenge ultimately lead Jules to the end goal of satisfaction? Read Vindictive and Vindictive Too to find out.


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