Revenge vs. Justice

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The Root of Justice and Revenge

Anonyms
Classical Literature Honors

17 May 2012

Classical Literature Honors

17 May 2012
The Root of Justice and Revenge

Is justice revenge and revenge justice? Justice is a concept of righteousness, based on a society’s perception of fairness. Whereas revenge, is an act of vengeance, based on spite and vindictiveness. Justice brings forth closure; however, revenge is an ongoing cycle to seek justice for one self. By examining the characters; Odysseus, Achilles, Dante, and Aeneas, the nature of justice and revenge do not go hand in hand for the characters show the root of justice is good and the root of revenge is evil. In Homeric society, the feelings and actions of the characters show the diversity between justice and revenge. Odysseus shows the good of justice, meanwhile the others show the wickedness of revenge. Odysseus, a keen deceitful man, goes to the cave of Polyphemus for gifts. He had left the cave injuring Polyphemus in the eye. “Hoisting high that stake with its stabbing point, straight into the monster’s eye they rammed it hard…So we seized our stake with its fiery tip and bored it round and round in the giant’s eye till blood came boiling up around that smoking shaft and the hot blast signed his brow and eyelids round the core and the broiling eyeball burst-its crackling roots blazed and hissed-” (Homer 223). Many would say this action was to avenge his fellow companions by the way he brutally stabbed Polyphemus in the eye. If Odysseus had not thought of this idea, he would have never gotten out of the cave alive. Yes, Odysseus had to be upset with this situation, however, he had many companions and it was not needed to avenge their death. One has to pick their own battles, the ones they know they can fight, as for Odysseus this was not a battle to fight. There was no good coming out of this situation if he did it for revenge. For stabbing the Cyclops, Odysseus comes out of the cave with a...
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