Revenge is a powerful motivator. A person is motivated to inflict harm on another person at whose hands he suffered a great injury or wrong. A revengeful person is out to destroy; there is no mercy. Since revenge seems to be such a human instinct, it has probably been part of human history right from the beginning. As most people, I believe that it is immoral and/or unethical to take revenge. However, as a writer, I would like to comment on revenge plots since they seem to be such an integral part of great many stories.
Firstly, it is wise to note that revenge is born out of a negative emotion. Basically, revenge is the result of anger. This means that people who seek revenge act on the basis of anger. This is the reason that a revengeful act is rarely thought out. In its raw form, revenge is a direct hit on the target. Its physical expression usually consists of a person being punched, struck, beaten, bludgeoned, cut or shot. The physical expression ranges from nasty to deadly, depending on the person and/or the amount of anger present. Many readers find it difficult to read about an act of revenge. They may find it repulsive, offensive or even monstrous. Some writers shy away from creating acts of revenge in their creative pieces for this very reason. It is a mistake, though. Since revenge is an ever-present powerful negative emotion, it is natural to find constant examples of it, even in its raw form. Thus, writers should not shy away from an accurate portrayal of an act of revenge that is born without thinking through the situation.
In some cases, revenge may take a more sophisticated form. In a highly civilized and politically correct society, the more educated population is forced to turn to well-designed revenge plots. For example, if a manager is angry at an employee, he cannot just punch the employee in the face. Of course, in such a society, citizens would like to believe that, since revenge is wrong, it can be eradicated by rationally explaining to people that it is immoral and unethical to engage in acts of revenge. Unfortunately, this approach does not work. Because revenge is not a rational thought, but, rather, a human emotion, many people feel the need to react to the injury they suffer by wanting to inflict harm. They may bottle up the anger for a while, but, eventually, the bottled-up anger causes the person to blow just like an overloaded fuse does in fuse box. Instead of a sudden, irrational reaction, though, people, in a highly civilized and politically correct society, come up with sophisticated ways of taking revenge. For example, the angry manager, instead of punching an employee, may single out the employee, magnifying the person’s small mistakes in an attempt to embarrass, shame, anger or cause discomfort to the person. Of course, this technique may not work at all times. If the intended target laughs it off or even makes a bet on being targeted, the revengeful act becomes insignificant and ineffective. In fact, it may backfire, further angering the manager. It can also damage his reputation. After all, others do notice around him what he is up to and develop a very poor opinion about him. In a creative piece, capturing this sophisticated form of revenge takes hard work because the writer has to capture both the person’s anger and his spur-of-the-moment plot for an act of revenge. Still, it is worth pursuing this type of revengeful act in a creative work, since most modern-day readers do live in a highly civilized and politically correct society where a punch in the nose is not always available as a solution to anger.
In rare cases, revenge may take a very highly sophisticated form. This form includes a calming down period where a person can rationally think through the plan for revenge. In this scenario, the person is still holding on to the emotion of anger and, hence, the desire for revenge, but she is willing to regain her calm and collected demeanor first in order to create a rationally thought-out plan before executing her revenge. This individual is cunning, artful and calculative with an excellently timed, detailed plan worked out in her mind. At its highest scale, the victim of revenge is unaware that the pain being inflicted upon her is the result of an act of revenge until the plan is completed. In some cases, it is even possible that, if she gains knowledge of the plot, she is unable to prove that she has fallen victim to a revengeful plot of an angry person. In a creative piece, designing this type of sophisticated revenge plot takes time and effort. The writer has to become this cunning, artful and devious character and has to become capable of thinking outside the proverbial box to come up with an original idea for a sophisticated plot. It is worth making the effort, though, because a sophisticated revenge-plot is always delightful to read.
As a final note, I have to point out that it is possible not to inflict pain on a person who caused an injury. It takes a type of psychological effort, though, that few people would make. A person needs to convince herself to let go of the emotional pain suffered by the injury or wrong. A strong individual is capable of letting go because she knows that, despite the injury inflicted, things will work out. Therefore, it makes no sense to put energy and effort into an act of revenge. The act of letting go frees up the person’s time to concentrate on achieving success. However, it takes a very positive and optimistic person in life to adopt this viewpoint because the person has to believe in herself and in her success. Unfortunately, it is rare to find such an individual in society. Naturally, for a creative writer, it is fun to portray this type of person in a creative piece on occasions. It is important for the writer to remind herself, though, that this type of person is the exception and not the rule in the world of revenge.
In the fascinating world of revenge, it is wonderful to accurately demonstrate an angry person who is ready to act. May they always be part of the world of creative imagination, but, hopefully, never in real life! Do not attempt an act of revenge in real life because it is wrong and karma is a b#$%*. Happy writing!
M. J. Mandoki