Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Revenge

"The most complete revenge is not to imitate the aggressor." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"To revenge a wrong is easy, usual, and natural, and, as the world thinks, savors of nobleness of mind; but religion teaches the contrary, and tells us it is better to neglect than to require it." - J. Beaumont

"Anger ventilated often hurries towards forgiveness; anger concealed often hardens into revenge." -

"The fairest action of our human life is scorning to revenge an injury; for who forgives without a further strife, his adversary’s heart to him doth tie: and ‘tis a firmer conquest, truly said, to win the heart than overthrow the head." - Elizabeth Carew, Lady Carew, formerly Lady Elizabeth Bryan

"Courage is always greatest when blended with meekness; intellectual ability is most admirable when it sparkles in the setting of a modest self-distrust; and never does the human soul appear so strong as when it forgoes revenge and dares to forgive an injury." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"Never does the human soul appear so strong and noble as when it foregoes revenge, and dares to forgive an injury." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"It is better to give love. Hatred is a low and degrading emotion and is so poisonous that no man is strong enough to use it safely. The hatred we think we are directing against some person or thing or system has a devilish way of turning back upon us. When we seek revenge we administer slow poison to ourselves. When we administer affection it is astonishing what magical results we obtain." - Thomas Dreier

"Revenge proves its own executioner." - John Ford

"'Tis more noble to forgive, and more manly to despise, than to revenge an injury." - Benjamin Franklin

"The sweetest revenge is to forgive." - Isaac Friedman, fully Jerome Isaac Friedman

"He who will not curb his passion, will wish that undone which his grief and resentment suggested, while he violently plies his revenge with unsated rancor. Rage is a short madness. Rule your passion, which commands, if it do not obey; do not restrain it with a bridle, and with fetters." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"Revenge is an act of passion; vengeance, of justice; injuries are revenged; crimes are avenged." -

"Slander is the revenge of the coward, and dissimulation of his defense." -

"There are minds so impatient of inferiority that their gratitude is a species of revenge, and they return benefits, not because recompense is a pleasure, but because obligation is a pain." -

"Injuries may be atoned for, and forgiven; but insults admit of no compensation. They degrade the mind in its own esteem, and force it to recover its level by revenge." -

"Revenge is always the weak pleasure of a little and narrow mind." - Juvenal, fully Decimus Junius Juvenalis NULL

"Revenge is the abject pleasure of an abject mind." - Juvenal, fully Decimus Junius Juvenalis NULL

"Revenge is the poor delight of little minds." - Juvenal, fully Decimus Junius Juvenalis NULL

"Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Anger is uneasiness or discomposure of the mind upon the receipt of any injury, with a present purpose of revenge." - John Locke

"Envy and anger, not being caused by pain and pleasure simply in themselves, but having in them some mixed considerations of ourselves and others, are not therefore to be found in all men, because those other parts, of valuing their merits, or intending revenge, is wanting in them. but all the rest [of the passions], terminating purely in pain and pleasure, are, I think, to be found in all men. For we love, desire, rejoice, and hope, only in respect of pleasure; we hate, fear, and grieve, only in respect of pain ultimately. In fine, all these passions are moved by things, only as they appear to be the causes of pleasure and pain, or to have pleasure or pain some way or other annexed to them." - John Locke

"Eat the dish of revenge cold instead of hot." - Charles Lowe

"I consider it a mark of great prudence in a man to abstain from threats or any contemptuous expressions, for neither of these weaken the enemy, but threats make him more cautious, and the other excites his hatred, and a desire to revenge himself." - Niccolò Machiavelli, formally Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

"There is no passion that so much transports men from their right judgments as anger. No one would demur upon punishing a judge with death who should condemn a criminal upon the account of his own choler; why then should fathers and pedants be any more allowed to whip and chastise children in their anger? It is then no longer correction but revenge. Chastisement is instead of physic to children; an should we suffer a physician who should be animated against and enraged at his patient?" - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"To be angry is to revenge the fault of others upon ourselves." - Alexander Pope

"A sincere acquaintance with ourselves teaches us humility; and from humility springs that benevolence which compassionates the transgressors we condemn, and prevents the punishments we inflict from themselves partaking of crime, in being rather the wreaking of revenge than the chastisements of virtue." - Jane Porter

"Revenge is an inhuman word." -

"What do you call Love, Hate, Charity, Revenge, Humanity, Magnanimity, Forgiveness? Different results of the one Master Impulse: the necessity of securing one's self-approval." - Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens

"Anger ventilated often hurries toward forgiveness; and concealed often hardens into revenge." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"Revenge is a common passion; it is the sun of the uninstructed. The savage deems it noble; but the religion of Christ, which is the sublime civilizer, emphatically condemns it. Why? Because religion ever seeks to ennoble man; and nothing so debases him as revenge." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"Slander is the revenge of a coward, and dissimulation his defence." -

"Revenge is sweeter than life itself. So think fools." - Juvenal, fully Decimus Junius Juvenalis NULL

"The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future." - Marya Mannes

"War mends but few, and spoils multitudes; it legitimates rapine and authorizes murder; and these crimes must be ministered to by their lesser relatives, by covetousness and anger and pride and revenge, and heats of blood, and wilder liberty, and all the evil that can be supposed to come from or run to such cursed causes of mischief." - Jeremy Taylor

"The apportioning of blame [is] the means by which society obtains a modicum of revenge for the wrong it has suffered, expiates its own guilt for such responsibility as it may have had for the event in question, and finally seeks to prevent a repetition of the disaster." - Norman F. Dixon

"The process of forgiveness allows you to turn your heart toward healing, release, and compassion instead of using your energy for revenge or punishment. Forgiveness allows you to build something positive in the present while still making sure not to repeat what happened in the past." - Leonard Felder

"Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"A prince… who wishes to guard against conspiracies should fear those on whom he has heaped benefits quite as much, and even more, than those whom he has wronged; for the latter lack the convenient opportunities which the former have in abundance. The intention of both is the same for the thirst of dominion is as great as that of revenge, and even greater. A prince, therefore, should never bestow so much authority upon his friends but that there should always be a certain distance between them and himself, and that there should always be something left for them to desire." - Niccolò Machiavelli, formally Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

"It was and it is to do all that can be done to eradicate an evil thing out of our civilization… a thing so incredibly wicked that it would not have been believable of modern man if it had not actually occurred. This evil, this wickedness began with intolerance and hate in a few men’s hearts. It spread until it almost wrecked the world. Now the obligation is to remember, not in hate, not in the spirit of revenge, but so that this spirit cannot ever flourish again so long as man remains on earth. And to this end, let us begin, each of us, by looking into our own hearts." - New York Times Editorial on the Holocaust NULL

"Revenge is barren. It feeds on its own dreadful sin." - Jonathan Schell, fully Jonathan Edward Schell

"Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it forgoes revenge, and dares to forgive an injury." -

"Courage is always greatest when blended with meekness; intellectual ability is most admirable when it sparkles in the setting of a modest self-distrust; and never does the human soul appear so strong as when it foregoes revenge and dares to forgive an injury." -

"When a man steals your wife there is no better revenge than to let him keep her." - Sacha Guitry, fully Alexandre-Pierre Georges "Sacha" Guitry

"Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response. Expelled from individual consciousness by the rush of change, history finds its revenge by stamping the collective unconscious with habits, values, expectations, dreams. The dialectic between past and future will continue to form our lives." - Arthur Meier Schlesinger, Jr., born Arthur Bancroft Schlesinger

"The fool mistakes power for virtue, acclaim for merit, nonconformity for dangerousness, conviction for truth, revenge for justice, license for liberty, and kindness for weakness." - Author Unknown NULL

"He who wishes to revenge injuries by reciprocated hatred will live in misery." -

"Injuries accompanied with insults are never forgiven; all men, on these occasions, are good haters and layout their revenge at compound interest." - Charles Caleb Colton

"Few things are more agreeable to self-love than revenge, and yet no cause so effectually restrains us from revenge as self-love. And this paradox naturally suggests another; that the strength of the community is not infrequently built upon the weakness of those individuals that compose it." - Charles Caleb Colton

"By paying our other debts, we are equal with all mankind; but in refusing to pay a debt of revenge, we are superior." - Charles Caleb Colton

"An act by which we make one friend and one enemy is a losing game; because revenge is a much stronger principle than gratitude." - Charles Caleb Colton