A Characterization of Revenge in Literature

1524 Words Feb 25th, 2018 6 Pages
In The Oresteia, All the King’s Men, and The Aeneid, there are three modes through which revenge can be exacted: premeditated dishonorable revenge, premeditated honorable revenge, and unplanned agitated revenge. These sometimes violent acts of emotion can reveal the purpose of a character as well as the role the character plays in either developing or resolving the many conflicts present within his story.
Characters who exact revenge upon others purposefully and dishonorably are typically antagonists who create new conflicts through their actions. In Agamemnon, when Clytemnestra “coil[s] [Agamemnon] round and round in… the robes of doom, and then… strike[s] him… twice,” she successfully takes revenge upon her husband for slaughtering their daughter, Iphigenia, to Artemis in order to sail towards Troy (Agamemnon 1403-1405). However, Agamemnon is still considered innocent as “he acts as he does because Zeus has taken away his wits” by ordering Agamemnon to vanquish the Trojans; Agamemnon kills his daughter simply to follow Zeus’s orders (Lloyd-Jones 197). Thus, when Clytemnestra kills this innocent man, she is performing a dishonorable act of murder, creating a conflict between the queen and two of her children, Orestes and Electra. Another character who takes revenge in a premeditated dishonorable fashion in Tiny Duffy, the Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana in All the King’s Men, who told Adam about Willie Talos’s…
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