Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cold Essay

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Author Pierre Choderlos writes, “revenge is a dish best served cold.” This quote is renown for its popularity across the centuries, often used as a proverbial description of the idea of revenge. Vengeance itself is a popular issue of morality, discussed and portrayed in a multitude of manners throughout literature, film, and live theater. Two playwrights that tackle the matter of revenge are Zeami Motokiyo and the famous William Shakespeare. Motokiyo’s play Astumori takes quite an artistic approach to the idea, telling a one-act play from the perspective of a samurai who is feeling guilty for killing a young opponent on the field of battle. He seeks cleansing for his guilty soul, putting him, potentially, on the receiving end of revenge. Shakespeare, on the other hand, takes a more traditional approach to the idea of vengeance in a number of his tragedies, including Hamlet. The ghost of Hamlet’s father urges his son to avenge his death by murdering his traitorous uncle Claudius. Both of these works exemplify a different aspect of the controversial matter of revenge. However, Astumori shows the audience that there are alternatives to revenge, while Hamlet reveals that revenge comes with a price. Essentially, both plays reach the same conclusion: revenge will not bring satisfaction. Millicent Bell, in her article “Hamlet, Revenge,” discusses the use of revenge in Shakespeare’s famous work, labeling it a “revenge tragedy” (311). She writes, “Shakespeare’s Hamlet has all the
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