Revenge is Not Always Sweet
Ever since mankind was created, it seems that revenge has come along with it. The Code of Hammurabi, the code of law from the sixth king of Babylon, was put into practice around 1760 B.C., making it the oldest recorded set of laws in human history. The code is rooted firmly in the belief in an eye for an eye; revenge was written all over it. Revenge is present in international politics, within one’s nation, in our homes, in our schools and in our personal relationships. Even in the civilized world we live in, revenge seems to play an important role in society. The United States is one of the few countries that allows the death penalty and implements it. People have different reasons and excuses of why the death penalty works, but yet again, isn’t this an act of revenge from one human being to another? The most recent act of revenge is nine-eleven. The United States argues that the war in Iraq was to fight terrorism, when in reality, they are looking for the one responsible to get the revenge millions of Americans ask for. Revenge is not always sweet; on the contrary it leads to a bitter life. No one is perfect, so why should any person waste his or her life trying to destroy another? Instead, people must attempt to forgive others. Through characters in several classic novels, words from leaders of the world, and through scholars’ researches, I will prove my point that revenge leads to self-destruction. Why do people seek revenge? According to a National Geographic research, the brain images suggest that humans feel satisfaction when they punish others for wrongdoings. "A person who has been cheated is left in a bad situation, the person would feel even worse if the cheater does not get her or his just punishment," said Ernst Fehr, director of the Institute for Empirical Research in Economics at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Fehr and his colleagues agree that the feeling of satisfaction that people get when they punish someone may be the base that keeps society calm and together. Later on, Fehr did an experiment, where people played a game of exchanging money. The rules were that, if one player made a selfish move instead of a mutually beneficial one, another player could punish the player. The majority of players elected to impose a penalty even when it cost them some of their own money. By doing this, Fehr and his colleagues found that it activated a region of the brain where research has shown that this region is involved in enjoyment or satisfaction. Knutson, a Stanford psychologist, said that: "instead of cold calculated reason, it is passion that may plant the seeds of revenge"(Roach). When seeking for revenge, human beings act with their heart, not with their minds. They do it because they were hurt at some point. In the novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, the life of Heathcliff Earnshaw perfectly portrays an example of how revenge can destroy a life. As a young boy, Heathcliff was adopted by Mr. Earnshaw to live with his family in Wuthering Heights. The Earnshaw children, Catherine and Hindley, were not too keen on this idea. As time passed, Catherine accepted Heathcliff as a friend, and they even fell in love. This amiable relationship did not develop between Heathcliff and Hindley. Quarrels would constantly arise between these two until one day, when Mr. Earnshaw decided to send Hindley away to college. Hindley left with a feeling of resentment towards Heathcliff, and after his father’s death, he returned to get his revenge. He took advantage of his power to treat Heathcliff like a servant, and this enraged Heathcliff who one day decided to leave Wuthering Heights and reappeared a successful man. Heathcliff used his money to bribe Hindley. He then fell in these traps because he had fallen into alcoholism and gambling and needed the money to buy drinks and make bets. All this time, Heathcliff was enjoying himself seeing Hindley destroy himself little by little. At the...
Cited: Boon, Susan D., Alishia M. Alibhai, and Vicki L. Deveau. "Reflections on the costs and benefits of exacting revenge in romantic relationships." Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Revue canadienne des sciences du comportement 43.2 (2011): 128-137. PsycARTICLES. EBSCO. Web. 24 July 2011.
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Fischer, Peter, S. Alexander Haslam, and Laura Smith. "“If you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” Social identity salience moderates support for retaliation in response to collective threat." Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice 14.2 (2010): 143-150. PsycARTICLES. EBSCO. Web. 24 July 2011.
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