Essay #1

Submitted By aahcky011
Words: 1368
Pages: 6

Vengeance: A Cycle of Bloodshed

In a society that does not have a government or legal system, most individuals act on anger and revenge. The acts of vengeance always manifest from raw emotion, which make them very dangerous. In this kind of society, there is no chance for an individual to receive justice-by-law. Therefore, one needs to know how to protect oneself, or otherwise retaliate. The acts of vengeance committed in Aeschylus are immoral, too frequent, and too savage. In Richard Posner’s discussion on revenge and in the story of Aeschylus, justice, vengeance, and immoral acts are common themes displayed. Posner’s discussion and Aeschylus both display a never-ending cycle of bloodshed and an “eye-for-an-eye” mentality. Painful memories force an individual to act solely on emotion, and to not logically think things through. Revenge is based on memories and raw emotion that cause people to act irrationally, which leads to an immoral and savage act of vengeance. As the Chorus states, “Oh the halls and the lords of war / the bed an the fresh prints of love. / I see him, unavenging, unavenged, / the stun of his desolation is so clear- / he longs for the one who lies across the sea / until her phantom seems to sway the house” (118: 409-414). This explains that an individual cannot seek vengeance on somebody if they don’t remember the bad events that occurred. This passage in Aeschylus relates to Posner’s idea of Rule 4, which summarizes that acts of vengeance are too frequent and too savage, and Rule 8, which summarizes that an act of vengeance is immoral (Posner: 29-30). The Chorus explains that the memory of Helen is taking its toll on Menelaus and Agamemnon, so they seek revenge by attacking the Trojans and starting a war. This act of vengeance escalates to much worse than what one could have ever predicted. When an individual feels personally attacked or betrayed it compels them to detriment the person who harmed them worse than they were harmed. When an individual commits an act of vengeance, they often do something more brutal than what occurred to them. Herald asserts, “The king, / the son of Atreus comes. The man is blest, / the one man alive to merit such rewards. / Neither Paris nor Troy, partners to the end, / can say their work outweighs their wages now. Convicted of rapine, stripped of all his spoils, / and his father’s house and the land that gave it life - / he’s scythed them to the roots. The sons of Priam / pay the price twice over” (122: 520-528). Justice is giving people the fairness they deserve, but in a society with no legal system it is not possible. Herald believes that Agamemnon should be honored for seeking vengeance on the Trojans. However, Agamemnon’s vengeance was much more savage, and caused enormous amounts of unnecessary bloodshed, which relates to Posner’s idea of Rule 4 yet again. For example, The Trojans only kidnapped, Menelaus’ wife, Helen, while Agamemnon and Menelaus started a ten-year war, which destroyed an entire city. Those are definitely not fair or equal results. In a society with no order, no government, and no legal system, these kinds of actions are just going to continue unless a drastic change takes place or the avenger(s) are punished for their action(s). Individuals are going to take justice into their own hands, but each view of justice is unalike, which creates further problems. The never-ending cycle of revenge solves nothing, and only makes matters worse. The Chorus demonstrates this by stating, “There’s an ancient saying, old as man himself: / men’s prosperity / never will die childless, / once full-grown it breeds. / Sprung from the great good fortune in the race / comes bloom on bloom of pain - / insatiable wealth! But not I, / I alone say this. Only the reckless act / can breed impiety, multiplying crime on crime, / while the house kept straight and just / is blessed with radiant children” (131:744-754). What the Chorus means by “I alone say this. Only