Francis Bacon (Of Revenge)

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Francis Bacon, a philosopher, and statesman were born in London in 1562. His father's second wife was a chef, and he worked as a seal. Bacon attended Trinity College in Cambridge until he was about 12 years old and enrolled in a Law class. While still at Gray's Inn, he started to address his friends as "shut up you men of sharp wits who are in cells with a few writers, dictators, and chiefly Aristotle (Chamber 152)." This meant that he favored humanism to scholasticism and Aristotelianism, and also to the conventional schools of England. After one year in school, Bacon worked for Amyaus Paulet at the British embassy in France during his mission (Bently 95). When Bacon’s father died unexpectedly, he was forced to abandon his mission and returned to England. His father only left him a meager inheritance, and this made Bacon broke thus forcing him to go to Lord Burghley, his uncle, and pleaded for help so as to get a job as a government official. His uncle shot him down and instead left Bacon scrambling to find other means of survival.

Vengeance and revenge according to Bacon are instruments of human impulse. In this case, regardless of whether society acknowledges this fact or not, it remains an undeniable truth. Nevertheless, the truth is a perspective that is visualized by the community and artistic angle that stab the relation of characters. Vengeance, on the other hand, is the reflection of debasement of the human soul (Blake 187). Moreover, it is also the fundamental human nature that blossoms with the control and annihilation of others, for fulfillment. The content in Bacon’s paper ‘Of Revenge’ shows that the Avengers try to control law. He also recognizes two types of revenge: Open revenge is generally unpredictable; as for the death of ceaser Henry III and demise of Pertinax. Private revenge, on the other hand, is for the nature of noxious people who carry on with the life of witches. He trusts that it changes a man into a mammoth and pressures him to do the most savage of acts.

The Arguments of Bacon

Bacon argued that despite any potential benefits, no man can hurt themselves particularly by getting angry from past pain experience. A good example is when someone is not judged for their mistake and then tries to better themselves. After appealing to a sense of superiority, it is wrong for someone to ignore their mistakes (Blake 71). This may make the Avenger feel more superior to the one who made a mistake. He also states that a wise man deals with the present and future but not by dwelling on the past experiences. By this, he meant that we should not dwell on the past mistakes. Still talking about common sense, Bacon argues that a mistake done by someone is not intentional and getting mad by trying to correct it is not a worthwhile. Therefore the author insists that if anybody wrongs the other person because of his evil character, then that’s his nature which controls his actions.

Bacon also argues that if one engages himself to revenge back without the involvement of the law, then it is tolerable. He later warns that if they seek revenge, they should be sure that no law shall turn back and punish him. It is therefore advisable to the individual who is seeking revenge that, whenever he commits such acts, he should be certain that revenge will teach him a lesson. In other words, Bacon meant that revenge is against the law for both God and Man. Moreover, the legal boundaries are overstepped when a man decides to have revenge because not only does it become a crime but it is also wild justice. His argument then states that revenge is not for the vigilantes but for the lawmakers who can either be the king, prince, or the court.

According to Bacon’s argument, he says that revenge is selfish. The author meant that the individual who intends to avenge places himself above the lawmakers. Bacon also adds by saying that vengeance is a self-satisfying vendetta, egocentric, and rogue (Bentley 152). Revenge does not show any love or public morality but dwells on the past because a man will pick what happened in the past for the purpose of paying back. Bacon also says that the Avenger is corrupt because he sticks with the past and refuses to forgive. Revenge also reflects on the present and future because of the past experiences. Bacon also emphasizes that it will always keep its wounds green and so will not heal.

The author also mentions revenge as cyclic because it will keep on rotating around the avenger thus causing him more pain that came from the past. He, therefore, elaborates that if a man decides to revenge, then he must abide and deal with the law. By this, he meant that paying back does not pay. Lastly, Bacon shows how retribution leads to exile. For instance, he reveals that the worst kind of vengeance is the one done in public because it is believed that the Avengers live in the witches’ hands. Moreover, not only are the avenger's general outcasts, but families and friends also reject them (Chambers 152).

The uniqueness of Bacon’s arguments

Bacon neglects the wrong doers because to him they are like thorns. This statement seems faulty because one cannot remove the pain that causes pain. Moreover, more wrong words that Bacon stated was that ‘a wrongdoer does it out of selfishness or out of his own love.’ At some point, there is no need of being angry at this people because they love themselves. Interesting enough, Bacon forbids revenge, and yet he also cautions what to do before taking part in it. For instance, he shows techniques of how revenge should be done with close attention. Here he meant that the avenger should avoid being caught by the law (Hamilton 177). This also shows morality in Bacon particularly for the statement where revenge is found tolerable because there is no law to remedy the action. Bacon also suggests that the victim should know the cause of retribution. The statement tried to elaborate that the intention of the avenger is to make the victim repent for the wrong they have done once they know the cause of revenge. Bacon does not approve the avenger’s action particularly when they don’t reveal their cause of vengeance to the victims. He adds by calling them crafty cowards because they are like arrows that flieth in the dark.

Bacon also reveals another aspect of revenging where he compares the views of job and Cosmus. The view of Cosmus is that, better an enemy to wrong you than a friend. A clear picture indicates that we should be ready to forgive the friends who do wrong to us. Moreover, Bacon says that we should forgive our friends so as to strengthen the bonds of the society. When we penetrate deeper on this arguments, we see that there was a psychological truth when he said that the avenger’s wounds remain green (Hamilton 250). Indeed it is proverbial saying because of constant brooding over revenge, keeps the memories of what the Avenger suffered.

Bacon’s Revenge on Literature

Literary, revenge is a theme that historically existed and continues to play a role in contemporary and modern works today. Notable examples that revenge was featured in the literature include plays like Othello and Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the Count of Monte Cristo novel, the Cask of Amontillado and Carrie by Stephen King (Bentley 124). Revenge in this novels is a theme but mostly used as a genre. The genre is consistent with different themes that appear in different texts. They include but not limited to; masking, disguise, cannibalism, sex, bodily fluids, violent murders, power, and secrecy. Each theme of revenge comes along with a concept of dramatic irony that plays a role in the success of vengeance in literature. The primary purpose of the revenge theme in literature is to possess the unavailable knowledge to the characters of the novel, film or play. It also intensifies the unfolded tragic events that created tension between the actions and the audience pertaining the actions of the characters.

Arguments that are central to Vengeance

Vengeance is egotistical. Once more, the Vindicator places himself over the retaliated for and the administrators. Retribution does not belong in a group; it is a maverick, egocentric, and self-fulfilling grudge. Revenge does not display any collective ethical quality or love of others. Exact retribution chooses not to move on. Bacon says that an ethical man will put past offenses behind him, yet the narrow-minded justice fighter will attempt to change past wrongs done to him. Along these lines, vindicate takes on the part of time: the justice fighter is undermined by the past in light of the fact that he declines to excuse (a demonstration of the present and future (Hamilton 104)

Revenge is patterned; it will prompt more retribution (by the justice fighter or the retaliated for). Bacon says: let a man notice the retribution be, for example, there is no law to rebuff; else a man's adversary is still in advance, and it is two for one. Not exclusively does the justice fighter by-pass the law, but despises everything he should follow the law. In this way, the condition is basic, legitimately and ethically: exact retribution does not pay. The most noticeably awful sort of vengeance, Bacon says, is open retribution because the justice fighters "carry on with the life of witches." They are open pariahs, banished from companions, family, open foundations, and the law.

Retribution is a sort of wild equity where the man's temperament hurries to weed out the law. For concerns about the wrongdoer, is that they put the law out of office (Chamber 150). Absolutely, in delivering retribution, a man is however even with his adversary; yet in ignoring it, he is unrivaled; for it is a ruler's part to exculpate. Solomon said it is the happiness of a man, to go by an offense. That which is past is gone, and irreversible; and quick men have enough to do, with things display and to come; consequently, they do however fool with themselves that work in past matters. No man is doing a wrong, for the wrong's purpose; however subsequently to buy himself benefit, or joy, or respect, or something like that. In this manner why would it be a good idea for me to be furious with a man, for adoring himself superior to me? What's more, if any man ought to foul up, just out of delicate nature, why, yet it is similar to the thistle or briar, which prick and scratch since they can do no other.

The most suitable kind of vengeance is for those wrongs which there is no law to cure; however then let a man notice, the requital be, for example, there is no law to rebuff; else a man's foe is still beforehand for two and not for one. A few, when they render retribution, they are covetous and the gathering ought to know when it come because is more liberal. For the enjoyment seems to be less in doing the hurt, as in making the gathering apologize. In any case, base and shrewd quitters resemble the bolt that flies oblivious and has an edgy saying against dishonest or ignoring companions, as though those wrongs were unforgivable; you might read that we are summoned to pardon our foes (Blake 125). However, you never read, that we are ordered to excuse our companions. The soul of Job was in a superior tune: Shall we take great at God's hands, and not be substance to take Revenge forever? This is sure that a man that reviews exact retribution keeps his own particular injuries green, which generally would mind, and do well.

Open vengeance is generally blessed; for the demise of Henry the Third of France; and some more. In any case, in private requitals, it is not so. Nay rather, malicious people carry on with the life of witches as they are naughty, and so end up being disastrous. Bacon keeps on speaking to judgment skills in his contention that no man looks to do hurt for its own particular purpose and that getting frantic at somebody for attempting to better himself is not a beneficial exercise. Furthermore, if a man harms since he's recently awful, well, that is his tendency, and his evil nature directs his activities. On the off chance that, Bacon contends, one takes part in vengeance that has no legal cure, then that revenge may be fair (Blake 120). However, he cautions that the individual looking for reprisal ought to ensure no law will rebuff him. Also, it's just right that the person who is looking for retribution upon comprehends that he's the objective since learning may make him sorry for his unique activity.


Bacon wrote this essay with the aim of understanding how revenge works. Despite the fact that he relates it to different novels and incidents, he still says revenge is nor right. Bacon was completely on the side of the law, civilization and also public responsibilities. He had different definitions about individuals who are planning of vengeance. At some point, Bacon becomes unpredictable because at one point he does not support revenge, but then he is also seen to give guidance before one plans to take vengeance. By all counts, Bacon was straight forward because of how he focuses on the future. He showed these traits because he did not cultivate his time to people who wronged him. This article is a guide that one should focus on especially when revenge is planned

Work cited

Bentley, John Ransome. The Royal Secret: “Was Francis Bacon the Shakespeare genius?” A thrilling historical mystery of life & death revealing the power politics of today. Meadow Grove, 2015. 74-188.

Blake, Edmund. Nature's Revenge: The Epic of Mankind's Relations with the World of Nature. Strategic Book Publishing, 2013. 23-225.

Chambers, Robert. Chamber's Cyclopædia of English Literature: A History, Critical and Biographical, of Authors in the English Tongue from the Earliest Times Till the Present Day, with Specimens of Their Writings, Volume 1. J. B. Lippincott, 2010. 75-198.

Hamilton, Donna B. A Concise Companion to English Renaissance Literature. John Wiley & Sons, 2010. 56-288.

October 19, 2022

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