What Would Bacon Say? Essay
Justice, at what costs should it come? Revenge, is it really that sweet? Justice is a civilized action or way of making someone accountable for their wrongful actions, and leaves it at that. Revenge is a selfish action that brings a person’s personal justice to one’s wrong-doer, where it can spiral into an uncontrolled cycle. Both bring consequences to one’s actions, and yet they are one in the same.According to Francis Bacon, the Colonel set up his own justice for his people through revenge.
Justice is actually only mentioned once in his essay, and that is just in the first line: “Revenge is a kind of wild justice,” (597) this statement shows that revenge and justice are one in the same. They both describe each other, saying that revenge is justice. It is viewed mainly as opposites because of the content at which people think of them. When justice is thought of usually people begin to think about courts, lawyers, judges, that sort of picture.Whereas this is not the case, now law on the other hand fits a bit better. Laws are the actual rules or guidelines that must be followed or if not followed justice will take place.
Revenge on the other hand is viewed as a dark, devious, sneaky way of getting back at someone for doing something wrong to a person. Justice/Law is a civilized, organized, and non-personal way to handle matters. So stating that revenge is a wild justice it shows that revenge is not civilized, it is more of a primitive and non-productive way to handle a situation.It is more of a personal, greedy way of handling a situation; taking a situation into their own hands. Yet when situations become to a certain personal point people believe that revenge is acceptable justice.
According to Bacon this is not true. He states that taking revenge and becoming even with someone is not productive and wise, “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. ” (597) He later goes on to state that those who are wise do not ocus on the past because what is in the past can not be changed, and that they have to much to focus about in the present and future. When focusing on the past, it won’t give time to let old wounds heal. Other wise someone who uses law heals that wound and moves on to better things. Bacon then goes on to state that the only tolerable revenge is a public one, where there is no law to follow.
He uses Caesar’s death as an example, showing that because he had been murdered there was no law because it was more of a dictatorship; therefore there was no solid law in the land that could follow the assignation of him.So when people obtained revenge for Caesar’s death it restored order and law, and therefore there was no law to punish those who got revenge for Caesar’s death because it had restored order. Now the dictator in Carolyn Forche’s piece, “The Colonel”, is not quite the same as Caesar was, he was a bit more on the harsh side. In this very vivid depiction of the Colonel’s house and his surrounding it is shown that he lives in a life of constant threat. From the bars on his windows, to the lights in and around his house it shows the fear that he holds inside.From the glass on the floor and in the wall, to the pistol that remains next to him, to the ears that he keeps in a paper bag it is shown that he lives a life of violence as well.
The Colonel is surrounded by all this fear and violence that it seems like that is all he knows. He was obviously previously served his time in the military because he is addressed as the Colonel, and also that violence is the only way to deal with a situation. Many people who serve the military become so engulfed in a vengeful way of doing things that they view that getting revenge and violence is the best way to handle a situation.Now that the Colonel has power over his land he resorts to revenge to get his point across to his people and through that justice is established (according to him).
Forche reveals that, “He spilled many human ears on the table. ” (Forche ll. 16) showing that when his people aren’t obeying is point of view he gets revenge, a “wild justice”, to keep is land in order. The Colonel is affirming what Bacon had stated, that revenge is a selfish act and it is done for one’s own profit, pleasure, or honor. The Colonel exclaims, “As for the rights of your people, tell them they can go fuck themselves,” (ll. 0-21) showing that his anger towards his people.
It shows that the Colonel is focusing on his past because he seems to keep using revenge to try and obtain justice for those whom disobey him. The Colonel reveals that he isn’t that much of a wise person because if he were wise then he would not be focusing on things in the future, according to Bacon. So the Colonel, through Bacon’s eyes, is a vengeful person who will never be able to become a wise governing power, instead he dwells on the past and keeps wounds fresh through his acts of revenge.It is seen time and time again that revenge and bringing justice into one’s own hands becomes a spiraling vortex that may never end.
If a person takes revenge then that person will most likely receive revenge as well, and this will keep on going back and forth and won’t ever stop. Just like in Forche’s poem, if revenged had stopped because for some strange reason the Colonel’s way worked then he would have a pistol by him, and bars on the windows. Revenge and Justice are one in the same. Through revenge one can obtain a personal, more selfish justice where law brings a justice that is true and fair.
The act of getting revenge does nothing for one’s character, because through revenge you remain on the same level as the person and may never rise above them. The Colonel shows that through revenge one may never become wise and be stuck in a devastating cycle. According to Francis Bacon, the Colonel set up his own justice for his people through revenge. Works Cited Bacon, Francis.
“Of Revenge. ” In Missy James and Alan Merickel, Reading Liturature and Writing Argument. 4th Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall 2011: 597. Carolyn, Forche. “The Colonel.
” Reading Literature and Writing Argument: 581-582.