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Revenge (or vengeance) consists primarily of retaliation against a person or group in response to perceived wrongdoing. Although many aspects of revenge resemble or echo the concept of justice, revenge usually has a more injurious than harmonious goal. The vengeful wish consists of forcing the perceived wrongdoer to suffer pain, injury or constraints, and is often justified as a means of making sure that the wrongdoer can never inflict such an injury upon others.


  • Do you who are a Christian desire to be revenged and vindicated, and the death of Jesus Christ has not yet been revenged, nor His innocence vindicated?
    • Augustine of Hippo, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 520.
  • Revenge is a kind of wild justice; which the more man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out.
  • Certainly, in taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior; for it is a prince's part to pardon.
  • Ich bin gewohnt in der Münze wiederzuzahlen in der man mich bezahlt.
    • I am accustomed to pay men back in their own coin.
    • Otto von Bismarck, To the Ultramontanes (1870).
  • Power is better than revenge. Power is a live thing, by which you reach out to grasp the future. Revenge is a dead thing, reaching out from the past to grasp you.
  • Sweet is revenge—especially to women.
  • Revenge is like a ghost. It takes over every man it touches. Its thirst cannot be quenched until the last man standing has fallen.
  • Revenge is not always sweet, once it is consummated we feel inferior to our victim.
    • Emil Cioran, Histoire et utopie (History & Utopia) (1960).
  • "Crom, I have never prayed to you before, I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad, why we fought or how we died. No, all that matters, is that few stood against many. That's what's important. Valor pleases you, Crom, so grant me one request: grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, then to hell with you!"
  • Somebody once wrote, "Revenge is a dish that has to be eaten cold." Hot as you are, you're liable to end up with indigestion.
  • "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth!"
    "Very good. That way the whole world will be blind and toothless."
  • 'Tis more noble to forgive, and more manly to despise, than to revenge an Injury.
  • If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out.
    • Hammurabi, Section 196 of the Code of Hammurabi (translated by Leonard William King, 1910).
    • Alternately translated as: If a man destroy the eye of another man, they shall destroy his eye.
  • Living well is the best revenge.
  • Revenge may just be the ultimate Hallmark Card. Its as if You're saying "You have effected My Life so much I feel compelled to respond in kind". When though of like that, I guess the old Cliche is True. Revenge is Sweet
    • Augustus Hill
  • The sixth precept of the natural law is, that in revenge and punishments we must have our eye not at the evil past, but the future good: that is, it is not lawful to inflict punishment for any other end, but that the offender may be corrected, or that others warned by his punishment may become better. But this is confirmed chiefly from hence, that each man is bound by the law of nature to forgive one another, provided he give caution for the future, as hath been showed in the foregoing article. Furthermore, because revenge, if the time past be only considered, is nothing else but a certain triumph and glory of mind, which points at no end (for it contemplates only what is past, but the end is a thing to come), but that which is directed to no end, is vain: that revenge therefore which regards not the future, proceeds from vain glory, and therefore without reason. But to hurt another without reason introduces a war, and is contrary to the fundamental law of nature. It is therefore a precept of the law of nature, that in revenge we look not backwards, but forward. Now the breach of this law is commonly called CRUELTY.
  • And would'st thou evil for his good repay?
    • Homer, Odyssey, Book XVI, line 448; Pope's translation.
  • How sweet to be an idiot
    At my back
    With no fear of attack
    As much retaliation as a toy.
  • Revenge, at first though sweet,
    Bitter ere long back on itself recoils.
  • One sole desire, one passion now remains
    To keep life's fever still within his veins,
    Vengeance! dire vengeance on the wretch who cast
    O'er him and all he lov'd that ruinous blast.
    • Thomas Moore, Lalla Rookh (1817), The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan.
  • The whole idea of revenge and punishment is a childish day-dream. Properly speaking, there is no such thing as revenge. Revenge is an act which you want to commit when you are powerless and because you are powerless: as soon as the sense of impotence is removed, the desire evaporates also.
  • To avenge a wrong done to you, is to rob yourself of the comfort of crying out against the injustice of it.
  • There is no finer revenge than that which others inflict on your enemy. Moreover, it has the advantage of leaving you the role of a generous man.
  • "In certain, extreme situations, the law is inadequate. In order to shame its inadequacy, it is necessary to act outside the law. To pursue - natural justice. This is not vengeance. Revenge is not a valid motive, it's an emotional response. No, not vengeance. Punishment."
  • Well, I'm not one to sit and spin
    Because living well is the best revenge.
  • ...revenge. ...This reaction is still admired by most people, when the injury is great, and such as to arouse moral horror in disinterested people. Nor can it be wholly condemned, for it is one of the forces generating punishment, and punishment is something necessary. Moreover, from the point of view of mental health, the impulse to revenge is likely to be so strong that, if allowed no outlet, a man's whole outlook on life may become distorted and more or less insane.
  • ...revenge is a very dangerous motive.... it allows a man to be the judge in his own case, which is exactly what the law tries to prevent. Moreover it is usually an excessive motive; it seeks to inflict more punishment than is desirable. Torture, for example, should not be punished by torture, but the man maddened by lust for vengeance will think a painless death too good for the object of his hate. Moreover, and it is here that Spinoza is in the right - a life dominated by single passion is a narrow life, incompatible with every kind of wisdom. Revenge as such is therefore not the best reaction to injury.
  • 'Tis an old tale, and often told;
    But did my fate and wish agree,
    Ne'er had been read, in story old,
    Of maiden true betray'd for gold,
    That loved, or was avenged, like me!
  • Vengeance to God alone belongs;
    But, when I think of all my wrongs
    My blood is liquid flame!
  • Revenge is the sweetest morsel to the mouth, that ever was cooked in hell.
  • Salarino: Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not take his flesh? What's that good for?
    Shylock: To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we shall resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.
  • Revenge is the prime ingredient in the fountain of youth.
    • Clockwerk, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus.
  • Revenge is like a poison. It can take you over, and before you know it, it can turn you into something ugly.
  • She pays him in his own coin.
  • The way of revenge lies in simply forcing ones way into a place and being cut down. There is no shame in this. By thinking that you must complete the job you will run out of time. By considering things like how many men the enemy has, time piles up; in the end you will give up. No matter if the enemy has thousands of men, there is fulfillment in simply standing them off and being determined to cut them all down, starting from one end. You will finish the greater part of it.
  • If you wish for revenge, an equally hard blow will be dealt back to yourself.
  • Revenge is the foundation of justice. Justice began with revenge, and revenge is still the only justice some beings can ever hope for.
  • Four years ago my partner - my friend - was killed and I took about as much revenge as any man can take. It cost me everything I had: what was left of my family, everything. Somehow I thought it would ease the pain but it doesn't. And somewhere in your heart you really have to accept that... and then you can begin to forgive yourself.


  • Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD
    • Leviticus 19:18
  • To me belongeth vengeance and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste
    • Deuteronomy 32:35.
  • And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes"
    • Judges 16:28.
  • Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you
    • Isaiah 35:4.
  • God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies
    • Nahum 1:2.
  • The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked
    • Psalm 58:11.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 671-72.
  • Revenge is a kind of wild justice; which the more man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out.
  • Women do most delight in revenge.
  • It [revenge] is sweeter far than flowing honey.
    • Homer, The Iliad, XVIII. 109.
  • Behold, on wrong
    Swift vengeance waits; and art subdues the strong.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book VIII, line 367. Pope's translation.
  • At vindicta bonum vita jucundius ipsa nempe hoc indocti.
    • Revenge is sweeter than life itself. So think fools.
    • Juvenal, Satires, XIII. 180.
  • Minuti
    Semper et infirmi est animi exiguique voluptas
    • Revenge is always the weak pleasure of a little and narrow mind.
    • Juvenal, Satires, XIII. 189.
  • Vindicta
    Nemo magis gaudet quam fœmina.
    • No one rejoices more in revenge than woman.
    • Juvenal, Satires, XIII. 191.
  • Je ne te quitterai point que je ne t'aie vu pendu.
    • I will not leave you until I have seen you hanged.
    • Molière, Le Medecin Malgré Lui, III. 9.
  • Sæpe intereunt aliis meditantes necem.
    • Those who plot the destruction of others often fall themselves.
    • Phaedrus, Fables, Appendix, VI. 11.
  • Inhumanum verbum est ultio.
  • Malevolus animus abditos dentes habet.
    • The malevolent have hidden teeth.
    • Syrus, Maxims.
  • Odia in longum jaciens, quæ reconderet, auctaque promeret.
    • Laying aside his resentment, he stores it up to bring it forward with increased bitterness.
    • Tacitus, Annales, I, 69.
  • Souls made of fire and children of the sun,
    With whom Revenge is virtue.

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