Hamlet

How not to enact revenge

Are you huddled in a dark lair, plotting to get back at your arch-nemisis? Careful – more often than not, revenge goes horribly, horribly wrong for all concerned. Read on to understand how not to wreak vengeance in the antiguide to revenge: what not to do.

Don’t go over the top

Like most things, revenge is best in moderation.

A 15-year-old schoolboy from the UK ignored this fact when he burned down his home when his parents threatened to sell his xbox. The gaming machine was on the chopping board to help pay back £5000 the schoolboy had stolen from his older brother.

Within days of learning of his punishment, the kid poured white spirits through the hallway of his family home and set it alight by throwing a match through the front-door letter-box.

His brother died in the inferno, while other family members escaped with various injuries after jumping out of first-floor windows.

The boy calmly watched from the street with his arms folded as the chaos ensued. After being convicted of murder, he faces life in prison.

Luckily for the kid, video games are allowed in UK jails.

Don’t put it off till later

Shakespeare’s Hamlet is perhaps the most famous vengeance story of all time, and it teaches a valuable lesson about revenge – sometimes it is a dish best served piping-hot.

When Hamlet discovers his uncle killed his father in order to assume the throne of Denmark, he embarks on an elaborate ruse to discover if the allegations are real.

After confirmation of the fact, Hamlet encounters his uncle praying in private, but opts against killing him as to murder someone in prayer would send their soul to heaven.

The delay leads to a complicated chain of events that ends up in the death of Hamlet, his mother, and pretty much everyone else in the play except his uncle, not to mention the conquering of Denmark by Norway. Praying or not Hamlet, you should have killed him when you had the chance.

Don’t make assumptions

Marie Lupe Cooley, 41, of Jacksonville, Florida, thought she was going to be fired when she noticed an advertisement for a position that looked suspiciously like her current job, complete with her boss’s phone number.

In pre-emptive retaliation, Marie marched down to the architectural office where she worked and erased 7 years’ worth of drawings and blueprints, estimated to be worth $2.5 million.

Her boss quickly pinpointed Marie as the perpetrator, as she was the only other person with full access to the files. She was arrested and lost her job, which she’d never been in danger of losing – the ad had been for a position with a company owned by the boss’s wife.

Don’t bring yourself down with them

In the Edo period of Japan, samurai served largely as advisors and bodyguards for rich Daimyos (nobles). The samurai’s oath of loyalty included an agreement between a samurai and his daimyo to avenge his master’s death.

The 47 samurai sworn to protect a Daimyo named Asano Naganori took this oath very, very seriously.

During a 1701 visit to the seat of power, Kyoto, Naganori became involved in an argument with another nobleman, Kira Yoshinaka, and slashed at him. As punishment, the ruling group decided that Naganori should commit seppuku, or ritual suicide, which he did later that day.

A couple of years later, Naganori’s 47 men crept into Yoshinaka’s home and told him to commit seppuku himself. When he didn’t, they cut off his head, carried it to the fortress where their master was buried and placed it in front of his tomb.

They then surrendered to authorities, who ordered the men to commit suicide. Forty-six of the 47 did so, and there are conflicting stories of the fate of the 47th; he either died or was pardoned.

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What Others Are Saying

  1. Thomas Cotterill September 5, 2012 at 3:13 am

    Yikes! Were you feeling gloomy when you posted this, Max?

    • Max September 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      Not at all Thomas – just a little something for the Hamlet fans (such as yourself).

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