By Jill Scott (auth.)

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Additional resources for A Poetics of Forgiveness: Cultural Responses to Loss and Wrongdoing

Example text

In contrast to Bill’s philosophizing, the Bride neither subjects herself to self-analysis nor engages in sadness or remorse. ”29 For the Bride, revenge is pure and simple, uncluttered by by-product emotions. In this sense, she trumps both Bill and Orestes, rising to the status of a female Achilles, for whom pure anger equals pure revenge. But certain accommodations need to be made when a woman wears the pants role, for example, in order to support her reproductive capacity. A man can sow the seed, but he cannot actually give birth.

Govier warns that 42 A Poetics of Forgiveness revenge is useless because “to act as agents of revenge, we have to indulge and cultivate something evil in ourselves” (Forgiveness and Revenge, 13 my emphasis). Of course, this claim does not to apply to the ancient world or to the comic-book world of Kill Bill. When Achilles lashes out at Agamemnon and then Hector, he is literally consumed by rage, which is to say, there is nothing left of his consciousness or in his conscience but fury. Achilles cannot be compared to a morally depraved person in our modern world.

Even if the votes are equal, Orestes wins. (750–756) The Furies are outraged at the disregard for the ancient laws. They curse the land with poison, sterility, and cancer, but there is no question now that they have been demoted and they have no choice but to acquiesce to Athena’s rule. The goddess of wisdom and war has brought restraint and measure to a world, in which brawn and brutality once ruled. Anger-fueled revenge is the modus operandi in the Iliad, and the Oresteia champions justified revenge in the name of civic order, but can we read this trajectory as an overall shift to peace, laying the groundwork for forgiveness and reconciliation?

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