October 2, 2013
Oh, How Sweet It Tastes
The feeling of desire for revenge is a natural feeling that is most certainly felt by most people. Cicardi, Lynch, and Poe each express this feeling, the feeling of getting retribution, in each of their respective poems. In “Suburban” by John Cicardi, the speaker shows revenge in a suburban setting, dealing with gardening and crossing of barriers. In “Liberty” by Thomas Lynch, the speaker tells of his revenge from being imprisoned in the suburbs. In “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe, the narrator, in a macabre and morbid manner, shows his retribution for a past action against him. “Suburban,” “Liberty,” and “The Cask of Amontillado,” through different ways, convey the very human feeling of revenge and retribution, which is also seen in the play Othello, by Shakespeare.
In “Suburban,” John Cicardi portrays his revenge on his neighbor in a very suburban way. John’s neighbor calls and complains that his dog has gone to the bathroom on the neighbor’s petunias. John knows that it could not be his dog, because it was in Vermont with his son. However, to get revenge on his neighbor, and even the overall suburban way of life, John goes with it or the nutrients of the feces. He says, “ But why lose out on organic gold for a wise crack?” (Cirardi 11). By not fighting with his neighbor, he will be able to get the benefits of the feces, which will help his garden grow better. He is also, at the same time, getting his revenge on the suburban way of life, which to the speaker, seems to be the typical suburban neighborhood with phony polite neighbors. If he has to deal with these kinds of neighbors, at least he will get retribution for it, in the form of dog’s feces.
In “Liberty,” Thomas Lynch describes the act of going to the bathroom as a form of freedom and revenge from the conformed way of life. This poem too deals with the life in the suburbs. The suburbs are a place where everybody acts politely and everything looks the same; the houses and streets and lawns and everything. Lynch says, “For years now, men have slipped out the back door during wakes or wedding feasts or nights of song to pay their homage to their holy trees…” (Lynch 27-29). Wedding feasts and wakes and nights of song represent the normal routines of life, things that everybody goes through in much of the same way every time. The same is true for going to the bathroom: everybody does it in the same way in the same places. However, the act of peeing outside, where it is not socially acceptable, especially in the suburbs, shows the revenge that Lynch was getting on the normal and conformed lifestyles that he is forced to live in life in the suburbs.
In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Poe uses more gruesome language and scenes to convey his character’s desire for revenge. All we know is that a man, named Fortunato, has burdened Montresor in a way where Montresor wants the most exacting revenge: death. Montresor buries Fortunato alive while he is chained to a wall by raising a brick wall to trap Fortunato inside. It is finally apparent that Montresor is satisfied with his revenge scheme through the last line. The narrator says, “In pace requiescat,” which means rest in peace. (Poe 1066). This has two meanings. First, it is a way of confirming that the friend had died, and the plot had gone according to plan. But also, this means that Montresor can finally live out his life in peace, knowing that he had gotten full retribution and revenge for his burdens.
“Suburban,” “Liberty,” and “The Cask of Amontillado,” in their own very different ways, tell stories of revenge and retribution. Similarly, Othello, by Shakespeare, tells a story of revenge by the cunning Iago on Othello, the Moor of Venice. Not only does Iago try to get revenge on Othello for promoting a different man than him, but he also because he thinks that Othello slept with his wife. The entire play goes through the intricate and diabolic plot by Iago to get as much revenge on Othello as he possibly can. Each character had a burden in their life, and through different ways, each character sought out retribution and revenge as they saw fit.