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. ~ Francis Bacon
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

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.


It is a right of nature to glut the soul with vengeance. ~ Attila
  • 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


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. ~ Lois McMaster Bujold
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Jack Bauer, 24: Live Another Day ep. 10, teleplay by: Adam DaSilva, story by: Robert Cochran & Manny Coto & Evan Katz
  • 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)
  • Women do most delight in revenge.
  • 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.
  • Doubtless, revenge is not always sweet, once it is consummated we feel inferior to our victim, or else we are tangled in the subtleties of remorse; so vengeance too has its venom, though it comes closer to what we are, to what we feel, to the very law of the self; it is also healthier than magnanimity. The Furies were held to antedate the gods, Zeus included. Vengeance before Divinity! This is the Major intuition of ancient mythology.
  • If you wish for revenge, an equally hard blow will be dealt back to yourself.
  • I never take vengeance unless I am forced to do so by an oath or in self-protection. I believe that evil is its own punishment.
    • Claudius (later Caesar/Emperor of the Roman Empire), in Robert Graves' historical novel I, Claudius
  • Revenge is the prime ingredient in the fountain of youth.
    • Clockwerk, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus
  • To forgive is divine
    But vengeance is mine, mine, mine
  • “They say revenge is empty.”
    “This is my first try at it,” Holden said. “Forgive me if my opinions on it are fairly unformed.”


  • לִ֤י נָקָם֙ וְשִׁלֵּ֔ם לְעֵ֖ת תָּמ֣וּט רַגְלָ֑ם כִּ֤י קָרֹוב֙ יֹ֣ום אֵידָ֔ם וְחָ֖שׁ עֲתִדֹ֥ת לָֽמֹו׃
    • 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
  • La vendetta, oh, la vendetta,
    è un piacer serbato ai saggi.
    L'obliar l'onte, gli oltraggi,
    è bassezza, è ognor viltà.
    • Revenge, oh, revenge
      is a pleasure reserved for smart people.
      To forget humiliation and outrage
      is debasement and cowardice.
    • Lorenzo da Ponte (and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart): The Marriage of Figaro (opera) Act 1
  • Ah no, lasciarti in pace,
    non vo' questo contento,
    tu non nascesti, audace,
    per dare a me tormento,
    e forse ancor per ridere,
    di mia infelicità!
    Già la speranza sola
    delle vendette mie
    quest'anima consola,
    e giubilar mi fa!
    • Ah, no, I shall not leave for you that happiness in peace;
      You were not born, upstart
      To give me pain
      And perhaps to laugh,
      To laugh at my suffering.
      Only the hope
      Of my vengeance
      Consoles this soul
      And makes me rejoice!
    • The Marriage of Figaro (opera) Act 3


“Justice, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Some see an innocent victim. Others will see evil incarnate getting exactly what's deserved.”

― Emily Thorne, Revenge

“In it's purest form, an act of retribution provides symmetry. The rendering payment of crimes against the innocent. But a danger on retaliation lies on the furthering cycle of violence. Still, it's a risk that must be met; and the greater offense is to allow the guilty go unpunished.”

― Emily Thorne, Revenge

“For the righteous, the revelation is a joyous event, the realization of a divine truth. But for the wicked, revelations can be far more terrifying, when dark secrets are exposed and sinners are punished for their trespasses.”

― Emily Thorne, Revenge


'Tis more noble to forgive, and more manly to despise, than to revenge an Injury. ~ Benjamin Franklin
  • "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth!"
    "Very good. That way the whole world will be blind and toothless."
  • 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.
  • 'Tis more noble to forgive, and more manly to despise, than to revenge an Injury.


  • Lamech said to his wives, "Adah and Zillah, Listen to my voice, You wives of Lamech, Give heed to my speech, For I have killed a man for wounding me; And a boy for striking me; If Cain is avenged sevenfold, Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold."
    • Genesis 4:23-24, New American Standard Bible, (1970)


Living well is the best revenge. ~ George Herbert
  • 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.
  • Professor X: Oppression is no excuse for vengeance -- for murder. I wonder... does the death of innocent people -- cut down on the streets as they flee -- free you? I think not.
  • "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."
    • Frank Castle, The Punisher, written by Jonathan Hensleigh and Michael France
  • 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.
  • Behold, on wrong
    Swift vengeance waits; and art subdues the strong.
  • And would'st thou evil for his good repay?
  • It [revenge] is sweeter far than flowing honey.
    • Homer, The Iliad, XVIII. 109


  • How sweet to be an idiot
    At my back
    With no fear of attack
    As much retaliation as a toy.
  • 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


  • 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
  • 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



  • 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


  • Revenge, at first though sweet,
    Bitter ere long back on itself recoils.
  • 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
  • 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


  • 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 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.
  • Sæpe intereunt aliis meditantes necem.
    • Those who plot the destruction of others often fall themselves.
    • Phaedrus, Fables, Appendix, VI, 11
  • Always, also, it remains true, that it is more noble to forgive than to take revenge; and that, in general, we ought too much to despise those who wrong us, to feel the emotion of anger, or to desire revenge.
    • Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry prepared for the Supreme Council of the Thirty Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States: Charleston, 1871. p.76
  • Forgiveness is better than revenge.
    • Pittacus of Mytilene made this remark to justify his release of his captured enemy Alcaeus, as quoted by Diogenes Laërtius in Life of Pittacus, i. 76, citing Heraclitus as his source; according to William Shepard Walsh, in Handy-book of Literary Curiosities (1892), p. 392, Epictetus, quoting from the same source, gives the phrase thus: "Forgiveness is better than punishment; for the one is proof of a gentle, the other of a savage, nature."
  • The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked
    • Psalms 58:11



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.~ Bertrand Russell
  • Revenge is like a poison. It can take you over, and before you know it, it can turn you into something ugly.
    • "Aunt May" in Spider-Man 3, story by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi and Alvin Sargent
  • 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.
  • A man with no friends, only live for revenge
    Live his life off the henge, cut, through a thousand men
    Blade swing with the force of a cyclone
    Cut crystal and bone, pistol and chrome
    Stand in my path, you're a dead man
    I cut the whole world in half for the Number One headband
    Quest of a lonely soul, on a lonely road
    • RZA, Afro Samurai Theme (2007)


  • '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.
  • Inhumanum verbum est ultio.
  • "I ain't a killa, but don't push me. Revenge is like the sweetest joy next to getting pussy."
  • 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.
  • At the end of the universe lies the beginning of vengeance.
There is an old Klingon proverb, "Revenge is a dish best served cold"...and it is very cold, in space...
Jean-Luc Picard: Where is Bok?
William Riker: Removed from command, sir, and placed under guard for his act of personal vengeance. Seems there was no profit in it.
Jean-Luc Picard: In revenge, there never is.
  • Revenge is the foundation of justice. Justice began with revenge, and revenge is still the only justice some beings can ever hope for.
    • Emperor Palpatine, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith novelization written by Matthew Stover
  • She pays him in his own coin.
  • Malevolus animus abditos dentes habet.
    • The malevolent have hidden teeth.
    • Syrus, Maxims, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 671-72


  • 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



  • 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.


  • Entweihte Götter! Helft jetzt meiner Rache!
    Bestraft die Schmach, die hier euch angetan!
    Stärkt mich im Dienste eurer heil'gen Sache!
    Vernichtet der Abtrünn'gen schnöden Wahn!
    Wodan! Dich Starken rufe ich!
    Freia! Erhabne, höre mich!
    Segnet mir Trug und Heuchelei,
    dass glücklich meine Rache sei!
    • Profaned gods, help my vengeance now!
      Punish the humiliation which you have suffered here!
      Strengthen me in service of your holy cause!
      Annihilate the vile delusion of the apostate!
      Wodan! You, mighty, I call!
      Freia! Exalted one, hear me!
      Bless me with deceit and hypocrisy,
      So that my revenge will be joyful!
    • Lohengrin (opera), Wagner
  • Erräth'st du auch dieser Raben Geraun'?
    Rache riethen sie mir!
    • Do you also understand these ravens' whispering?
      To me they recommend: revenge!
      [Hagen sings this and then stabs Siegfried in the back with his spear]
    • Götterdämmerung (opera) "The Twilight of the Gods", Wagner



  • 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.
  • Souls made of fire and children of the sun,
    With whom Revenge is virtue.


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