“THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.”
Everyone who knows me well knows my favourite author in the entire world is Edgar Allen Poe. One Christmas, my ex husband bought me a copy of my “favourite” Poe story (the Raven), only to have my friends tell him in unison that its actually the Cask of Amontillado.
I won’t spoil it for you, because its awesome, but it’s a story of how a man sets forth an interesting revenge for a perceived insult. The narrator never specifies what the insult was, just that it happened. The story takes some interesting turns from there, including the narrator’s sickness at heart over what he had done.
The truth is, that rash actions made in anger entomb us as much as the person that we’ve locked away. We may have chained them up in the darkest part of our hearts & locked them away, but they are still there, rattling their chains & pleading with you to come back & let them free. Meanwhile, you have imprisoned yourself in the same tomb, bound by your anger to an action you know was wrong. So, you venture down to the darkness & peer through the small window, watching them suffer, punishing yourself. They know you’re watching them suffer, feeling the sadness of knowing you’re taking great delight in their pain, unknowing that its guilt you’re feeling. Guilt for acting rash, vengeful & leaving you to languish.
For years, literary experts have believed that the narrator was actually insane & invented a reason to hurt his victim, because the slight was actually in his mind. I’ve always felt that Poe is trying to teach us that revenge is never a good idea. While yes, the narrator got away with it, it weighed on him for decades, eating away at his soul until he became a broken man.
Truthfully, most “slights” that prompt us to lash out in anger exist only in our own mind. We overreacted, we blew a minor slight out of proportion. Yes, people do dumb things, but chances are it wasn’t as bad as you made it out to be. We are our own worst enemies.
This is why reactions made in anger are never good; they hurt you more than you hurt them. You’re haunted by it, taunted by it & will never truly escape the guilt. Your victim lives in your heart imprisoned in the place you dare not go. By holding on to the anger, the revenge, you’ve held onto that person & the line between love & hate is so fine, that most experts will tell you that if you badmouth a former flame vehemently, you’re trying to mask your love for them. Why not set them (& yourself) free? Take them out of the prison of your heart & let them roam free in it. Let the only thing you keep chained in the basement be your desire for revenge.