My English class has been going through the book, The Count of Monte Cristo. One of the major themes of the book is vengeance. Edmond Dantes has been wronged and forced to suffer in prison. When he finally makes his escape, he’s off to seek his revenge out on those who betrayed him. As the reader continues to experience more encounters with the Conut of the Monte Cristo, we see his horrifyingly dark and mysterious side. My class has these competitive team Socratic Seminar called B.R.A.W.Ls where we create our own questions and answer them. One of the questions used for the B.R.A.W.L was this,
Dantes is set for life. He has the wealth, the influence, and the power to live far into his late years with great comfort and luxury, yet puts all of that at risk for to seek a vengeance fueled by hatred upon those who wronged him within the past. Is vengeance/ revenge something worth potentially losing your life/wealth/friends for?
I had the privilege of being in the inner circle for this round and used this question for my reply. That week, my pastor had given us a sermon on forgiveness. Personally, it’s probably one of the most difficult things for me to overcome. When someone has wronged you, you feel as though they owe you something, that they are in debt to you. Due to that mentality, it’s difficult to let it go because you don’t find it fair that they don’t repay you in some way. Justice becomes the ultimate goal of revenge. When you don’t find that their debt is paid back to you, you begin to take it back by force. You try to treat them the same horrible way they treat you, or like the Count, you repay them back in the most excruciating way possible. However, you will not find that sense of peace if you cannot fill what you think you have lost.
When you cannot forgive someone, there will just be a burning hatred. It will never disappear. It will never lessen. No matter what, they wronged you and that’s all you think about. Even after your revenge and even after their death, your last memories of them will be of hatred because you cannot find it within your heart to forgive them. One thing my pastor taught that day was that you need forgiveness before you can find that justice you’re looking for through your revenge. The video my pastor showed us was this…
It shows a son finally being able to move past the hatred toward his father in prison and forgiving him. Through that, he is able to move forward.
Imagine that you have a cake. It’s an entire cake all to yourself with your favorite frosting and everything. But, someone took a piece of that cake. Now, there’s a hole in it and your cake no longer looks appetizing. Every time you see the cake it makes you go crazy because the piece is missing. It makes you feel empty. It’s such an ugly hole. You feel hatred for that person who ruined your perfect cake. Now you want to ruin them. You begin to try to exact revenge on them. You think that you can fix it by shaving off other pieces. Each time they pass by, you take a piece of your cake and throw it at them. You continuously take pieces and chunks and you fling them toward your enemy. You don’t worry because you think they owe you another cake. The hole widens. It becomes larger and larger until you’re left without any cake and you’ve pushed the person you wanted revenge on so far out that they can no longer buy you another cake. You’re just left alone. Empty. With no cake.
Your cake can’t be replaced. The piece is gone and you can’t change what already happened. When you let that missing piece take over you, you lose the entire cake. You think that using the cake to get revenge will make you feel whole again, but you’re just left with nothing. Instead of enjoying the rest of your cake, you recklessly used it and now you just continue to feel empty. Like the quote in the video, “Forgiveness can’t change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”