Why do people seek revenge? Why do people seek revenge?  

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To a large extent, the desire to seek revenge arises from a fundamental belief that people have been wronged.  It is in this idea of being wronged or being mistreated where there is a desire for some level of compensation or recompense where revenge arises.  The source of revenge is something that is personally felt and something that might lie outside what others feel.  I think that there are many good studies of this in literature and cinema, but two stand out in my mind.  The first would be the character of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello.  Iago does what he does because he feels that he was wronged by Othello.  His desire for revenge is what ends up driving his compulsion to represent evil.  He does not care for what others think of him because of his need to ensure that everyone feels what it is like to be wronged.  Conveying this through revenge is of vital importance to him and represents his primary motivation.  Another example of this need for revenge existing within the individual and lying outside the reach of society would be the characterization of Beatrix Kiddo in Tarantino's film, Kill Bill. Her desire for revenge is something that no one can quash.  It is a motivation that exists within her and even when evident that her life was not as horrific as constructed, when she finds out that her child is alive, her need for revenge is absolute.  She is unreachable in this venue.  There is no sense of totality or transcendence which will be able to reach her, assuage her pain or move her from her position of desiring revenge.  It is here in both of these instances where the desire for revenge stems from something personally held that few, if any, can even really grasp or fully comprehend.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sometimes, people seek revenge because that is what their culture dictates they must do.  An act done to a person in a "modern" culture like America might not provoke an attempt at revenge while the same act done to a person in a less modern culture like the one in which I grew up would cause such an attempt.  The person in the less modern culture would feel pressured to seek revenge because failing to do so would make him look like less of a man or would make him look like he did not care as much as he should about his family or friends.

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I think the instinct to seek revenge stems from a time before we had a legal system. If a person was wronged, revenge was their only recourse. Now, of course, we have a legal system that deals with wrong doing from a more objective perspective. But, the instinct is still there. I would equate it to the same type of instinct as the fight or flight response. We feel we have been wronged and the instinct to seek revenge is triggered.
megan-bright eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree that desiring revenge is something that is somewhat innate. However, many mature and well-gounded people do think things through and sometimes realize that getting revenge is draining and would possibly make the situation worse. As for those who seek revenge, they have allowed their hurt to cloud their thinking and want to inflict pain or guilt on the person who they feel has wronged them.

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the history of the world revenge has been associated with justice on some level or another. The adage "an eye for an eye" taken literally as written seems to promote revenge. For many cultures this is a way of life, if someone does something wrong to you you get even with them. As someone else mentioned to not seek revenge is sometimes seen as a weakness.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'd say to a certain extent we are hard-wired for revenge.  However, I also think most of it is cultural.  From the time we are small, revenge is accepted.  If one kid hits another, we shun the hitter.  If the one who was hit hits back, we are generally more accepting of it.

ik9744 | Student

Prior to revenge someone must do something harmful or anything that can hurt you emotionally or physically. Getting hurt physically/emotionally can make you stressed out or depressed. Getting revenge will relieve that stress or depression by causing the same impact it did to you. It's all a mental thing, in reality taking revenge isn't worth it. There is multiple way to get out of being stressed or depressed. 

flying-solo | Student

Revenge makes some people feel better of themeselves knowing that, that person who has taken something special away from them or had wronged them, suffers for their consequences. It gives the persuer satisfaction, because now they are both even. Just like the saying, an eye for an eye.

healme2 | Student

People seek revenge because they want the person or persons who wronged them to hurt aswell.Sometimes they beleive that if the other person where to go through the same pain they experienced when they were wronged that they would be less likely to repeat it.Hurt people Hurt people therfore I beleive that if you know you've wronged someone at any time it's important to make amends as soon as possible. Revenge can be a terrible thing and many times the people who suffer have nothing to do with what was done.

justaquestion | Student

because people feel that it has lowred their selfesteem and thus they want to feel better and higher than others and so they seek revenge because they want to see others suffer and be miserble like they used to be.

cheezea | Student

I was thinking if it was part of our natural instinct to want to get back at someone/something? For example if i was a dog and my owner doesn't treat me well, i would naturally want to 'seek revenge' by hurting him.

mylifebeyondwords | Student

It all depends on circumstances and the person themselves. Some believe that they have truly been wronged and want to "get back" at someone else. Others like to make up these mind challenges and think that one particular person is out to get them. Therefore, they have to attack first to be safe.

Revenge is mainly referred as "sweet" in story lines (for the most part) and some cases real life because it may have been a plan or goal they've been waiting for. Or they're just sick in the head. But, it again depends on the person and circumstance(s).

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