Of Revenge: Francis Bacon’s Optimistic Tale? Essay

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Of Revenge: Francis Bacon’s Optimistic Tale?        


Revenge and vengeance are basic tools of human instinct. Whether society chooses to accept or blind itself to this fact, it is an indisputable truth. Francis Bacon examines this truth in "Of Revenge", a view of society and literary characters that reflects the strive for vengeance. However, "Of Revenge" deeply underestimates the corruption of the human spirit and soul. It completely disregards the presence of the basic human instinct which thrives on the manipulation and destruction of others, for the sake of satisfaction. Though Bacon’s inferences to the book of Job or Solomon are perfectly viable to a character that chooses to take revenge after they have been wronged, to believe that "no man does evil just for the sake of evil" annihilates any complete sense of credibility that Bacon’s thoughts imply. The author’s aspirations of the seeking of revenge solely as a means of retribution for oneself, and not to satisfy the evil within the human soul, is a beautiful and idealistic hope which belongs in some earthen utopia. Unfortunately, it has no bearing on the modern world. Though the beliefs of Bacon expressed in "On Revenge" fulfill the traits of characters such as Medea, they neglect the human thrive for meaningless vengeance in characters such as Shakespeare’s Iago.

Euripides’s Medea uses the theme of the search for revenge in order to instigate the downfalls and deaths of many characters. This theme is expressed through the character of Medea, who fits directly into the mold laid out in the guidelines of "Of Revenge". Medea’s search for revenge commences after her husband, the famous Greek hero Jason, leaves her for...

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...nge" Francis Bacon considers the good and evil sides of man, and thus draws conclusions given the relationship between the good and evil in a character is equal. Therefore, a character such as Medea, who possessed many virtuous qualities, as well as detestable ones, fits the mold of Bacon’s beliefs of the justification of revenge. However, Bacon disregards the fact that in some men, their is more evil than their is good, and the strength and tenacity of that man override moral views. It is this imbalance that leads characters like Iago to do "evil for the sake of evil" and though they are not justified in their search for revenge, they endlessly endeavor to disrupt the natural flow of good to satisfy their evil cravings. Bacon discounts this amoral view of the human race which irrevocably overshadows the conclusions he draws as to the justification of human vengeance.

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