Revenge of the broken hearted…

Someone hurts you. You want to hurt them back. That’s revenge: the pain and grief of being hurt, and the energizing anger needed for vengeance. This potent emotional cocktail is a common feature of love triangles, where two people compete for the love of a third. Driven by passion, the pain that eventually ensues for the loser in love can lead to acts of vengeance, some minor such as the woman who cut one sleeve from each of her cheating husband’s expensive suits, some major acts of murderous violence.

The loser in a love triangle who is intent on revenge must first choose who to target: their triumphant rival? or their lost lover? Perhaps both?

This was a dilemma for Princess Diana, who took revenge on both her husband and his lover when she was interviewed by Martin Bashir: “There were three people in this marriage….” With these now famous words she damned both her husband and his lover, and presented herself as the wounded victim of their collusion.

President Kennedy, his wife Jackie and his lover Marilyn Monroe was a love triangle that remains an enigma. Was Monroe killed, by agents of Kennedy? Or did she commit suicide, in an act of ultimate revenge against her lover, knowing he could be implicated in her death? The never knowing feeds the mystery.

Love triangles abound in Honor’s Shadow. The love triangle of Tisi, (Honor’s new psychotherapy client) her husband and her friend Jackie reminds Honor of her own husband’s betrayal with her best friend, also named Jackie. For Tisi, her murderous rage towards her husband is intensified by her desire to drive her rival mad.

For Honor, her heroic efforts to forgive and forget are undermined by constant reminders of her pain at the double betrayal, along with her memories of an earlier scar: of Madalena, her rival for the love of Thomas. Long buried feelings of vengeance surface when she suspects that Thomas fathered Madalena’s daughter.

Realising that she had been the loser after all, her grip on reality slips….. Will she be able to control herself?

5 thoughts on “Revenge of the broken hearted…

  1. I read the initial draft of Honor’s Shadow and thoroughly enjoyed it, however reading the synopsis makes me want to read it all over again and think a lot more about the human reaction to revenge, why we find our feeling difficult to control and what really drives us to commit cruel acts of revenge against our rivals.

    It would be so much easier if we could just walk away, forget and carry on with the next chapter of our lives? Maybe Honor’s Shadow will teach us how to do this!

  2. Wow…. so powerful an emotion. I find revenge slightly undignified but is this a healthy response or a result of my Catholicity ? Very unsettling and curious and powerful and sad I think – I look forward to more.

  3. I agree Kathy, it is a slightly undignified response, though very human and primitive. A recent psychological survey of the seven sins pointed out that most of them were failures of self control….. In Honor’s Shadow, I am exploring how hard the impulse to vengeance can be to control… and the disastrous consequences when control fails…..

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