Revenge: Learned Or Instinctive? Essay, Research Paper
Revenge has been a common theme in society since, perhaps, the dawn of time. We often hear people say, Don t get mad, get even. And indeed, it has been ingrained into us that we must get retribution when someone does something wrong to us. In many ways, revenge is often a means of control; it gives us control over someone, when someone hurts us in some way. Some might say that revenge is an innate quality in humans, most likely because of the fact that it gives us some sense of control over a particular situation. It is often easier to exact revenge on someone than to discuss a wrongdoing peacefully or to let it go. There are numerous examples of this in history.
Take the judicial system of many countries around the world, for example. If someone kills a member of your family or your friend, you may wish the killer to be dead, or at the very least, endure a great deal of pain and suffering to pay for his crime. We expect these criminals to either be put in jail, or sometimes, even killed for what they have done. We demand retribution from people who commit crimes, especially those of this nature. And indeed, the law, in many places, agrees with this and the use of capital punishment is commonplace. Many people would agree with the saying, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. As such, what our legal system calls justice is merely a fa ade for what is really revenge.
If a person steals your favourite watch or your most treasured pen, your natural instinct is, of course, to find the person and demand it be returned immediately. If the person fails to return it, you would most likely want that person to suffer, even in some miniscule way, for what he or she has done. Some people may resort to violence; sometimes, even people in high positions may decide to get revenge as well. For example, if a student takes a teacher s pen and does not return it, the teacher might decide to give that student a bad mark on an assignment.
Wars are a perfect example of revenge on a much larger scale. Many wars start off with some sort of wrongdoing being imposed on another, and a huge war ensues, where often, people are not aware of the real reason why the battle has begun. Wars often become very personal things; there are many examples in the Vietnam War, where a soldier s friend is gunned down by another soldier from the opposing side, and the soldier feels it necessary to avenge the murder of his friend, without really understanding why he is fighting in the war to begin with. The Vietnam War, itself, is a perfect example of revenge. American propaganda showed the Vietnamese as being evil and uncaring people because they were Communists, and this sort of hate grew among many of the American people. Thousands of innocent Vietnamese civilians were killed when Americans burned down numerous villages; they wanted revenge on all Vietnamese people. Many people died on both sides, simply because people wanted revenge and retribution.
Even families can be prone to revenge at times, and indeed, average households can often be war-zones, in themselves. A child may do something hurtful to a parent, and the parent, in turn, feels hurt, angry, or guilty and tries to get even with the child. The child might do something against the rules, such as tracking mud into the house or not putting away the toys. When the parent discovers this and becomes upset at the child, the child becomes angry at the parent some parents may decide to hit their children or yell at them. This occurs because the parent has lost control and must regain it, usually by exacting some sort of revenge which is disguised as punishment. And indeed, a child may decide to become even more reckless and out of control, to upset the parent and in his or her own way, get revenge for this punishment . This becomes a very vicious cycle which often destroys a relationship between a parent and his or her child.
The sad truth about a large percentage of the population is that we want people to suffer when they commit some sort of transgression against us. Indeed, it doesn t matter how small or large the crime is whether it s stealing a pen or killing a loved one our natural instinct is to have the transgressor pay. It is instinctually designed into us due to our emotional nature, and it is usually much easier than having to deal with the issue or to discuss it calmly and peacefully. Revenge gives us an almost twisted and perversed sense of control; it gives us control over the person who has committed such terrible acts against us. And who can deny the age-old (yet clich d) phrase: Revenge is sweet ?