It has been said that “Revenge is Sweet.” It is sweet in that it gives the vengeful person a satisfaction that is similar to eating something sweet. It gives that person a chance to get the upper hand on others. In some cases, it may be justified. In others, it may be nothing more than “I can do it; therefore I am.” Revenge is very prominent in this week’s readings. In “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe, the narrator executes revenge on a nemesis of his who has wronged him. In “Liberty” by Thomas P. Lynch, the narrator executes revenge for no other reason than he can. In “Suburban” by John Ciardi, the narrator executes revenge because he knew all along that his neighbor didn’t know what she was talking about. These feelings of revenge can lead individuals to become so obsessed, that these feelings take over their every thought – almost making them a prisoner in their own minds. Their vengeance causes them to act less than noble.
For example, in “The Cask of Amontillado”, the narrator has let the feelings of revenge consume him for 50 years. He lures Fortunato into his cellar with the intent of harming him for “the thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne.” As he states, “I vowed revenge.” He coerces the very intoxicated Fortunato into his wine cellar on the pretense that he needed his help to determine if a particular wine was indeed Amontillado as it was labeled. The narrator said that he had his doubts and wanted a connoisseur of wine to verify the wine. Fortunato was flattered and gladly followed the narrator into the cellar. The narrator even played to Fortunato’s ignorance by stating that he could get Luchesi to verify it for him. Fortunato felt superior to Luchesi and went so far to denounce Luchesi by stating that “He is an ignoramus.” While in the cellar, he actually goes so far to bury Fortunato while still alive just to finally get the upper hand on him.
In “Liberty” by Thomas P. Lynch, the narrator executes revenge by using a normal everyday function of going to the bathroom to explain himself. He can “go out and piss on the front lawn as a form of freedom”. He is trying to prove his point that others, like his ex-wife, are envious that he “could do it anywhere.” He executes his own revenge on those that insist he use “porcelain and plumbing” to make the statement that he can go wherever he wishes. In his mind, this has almost become an obsession to prove these others wrong. This obsession has taken over his thoughts, has imprisoned his mind.
Likewise, in “Suburban” by John Ciardi, the narrator is so fixated on the idea of revenge towards his neighbor, that he intends to show her up. His neighbor called to say that his dog had left a “deposit” in her petunias. He knew that couldn’t be the case because his dog was out of town with his son. Amazingly, the narrator didn’t let his quest for revenge get the best of him. He wanted to ask her “if she had a positive i.d” of the dog poop, but then thought better of it. He did however get his revenge when he scooped it up and “bore the turd across the line to my own petunias.”
In each of these writings, the author has become consumed or obsessed with feelings of revenge. These feelings have taken over their thoughts and led them to act in less than proud ways. I have witnessed this during my weeks of service. In talking with the clients at Our Daily Bread, I am always fascinated by their stories and what has brought them to this point. One gentleman who has found himself on the streets has become obsessed with his situation to the point that it is harming him. He can’t let go of the thoughts in his mind that he deserves more and doesn’t understand why others seem to be enjoying more in life than he has. This line of thinking has caused him to get into trouble. He gets belligerent when he panhandles for money, and people won’t give him any. He takes his vengeance out on them by cursing at their car or sometimes even kicking it. This just goes to show that no matter what their situation is, if people allow vengeful thoughts to take over their mind, they become prisoner to these thoughts.