This is a part of college term paper on Revenge:
Characters in many medieval literary collections commonly practice the act of revenge. Sometimes, the character seeking the revenge is successful, other times he/she is unsuccessful. In The Decameron, on the eighth day, seventh tale, Rinieri carefully constructs a way to achieve revenge on Elena, and he succeeds. In The Lais of Marie de France, the lais “Bisclavret” is about a wife who schemes to get revenge on her husband, but her plan backfires in the end. If the scholar Rinieri could teach the wife in “Bisclavret” how to develop a successful revenge strategy, he would advise her to be patient, try to force the victim to understand the revenge, and make sure the victim learns a lesson from their punishment.
When Rinieri vows to get revenge on Elena, the first thing he does is become very patient and waits for the right time. He leaves it up to Fate to determine the circumstances under which he can get back at Elena. In other words, his Yin personality leads him to let things happen naturally. Many days after Elena purposely leaves him out in the cold all night, his love for her quickly turns to hatred. “He made a full recovery, and feigned to be more than ever in love with his widow, while he nursed his hatred” (Waldman 509). Rinieri pretends to still be in love with Elena by suppressing his anger in front of her and her maid. He remains patient for about six or seven months, and during that time he continues to strategize the many different ways he can get his revenge. Then, when the day finally comes for him to put his plan into action, he is ready.
On the other hand, the wife in “Bisclavret” can best be described as having a Yang personality, because she makes things happen and does not wait. When her husband, Bisclavret, confesses to her that he is a werewolf, she is overwhelmed with emotions. Suddenly, “over and over she considered how she might get rid of him”(Hanning and Ferrante 94). She wanted to do something as fast as possible in order to get rid of him. The lais leads the reader to believe that she gets her revenge on her husband the very next time he leaves for the woods. She did not take a sufficient amount of time to consider all aspects of her plan and make it flawless.
Another method that allowed Rinieri to achieve the perfect revenge was his determination to make Elena understand her punishment. He says to her, “what you’re now suffering will be my lesson to teach you what it is to spurn men who have any feelings…” (Waldman 515). He lectures to her for a long period of time and expresses how he feels about her cruelty towards him and how he could have loved her better than the younger man she had. He also explained to Elena the reasons why an evil woman like herself deserves to be on the tower. His objective is to force her to understand the pain he felt when she placed him in a similar situation.
On the contrary, the wife in “Bisclavret” made a mistake by not forcing her husband to understand her revenge. After her husband’s confession, she felt betrayed, hurt, and scared but never got the opportunity to express those feelings to her husband. Her strategy should have included more detail. For example, she could have trapped Bisclavret in a cage, and then enlightened him the same way Rinieri enlightened Elena. Bisclavret was never informed as to why his wife took his clothes, so all he lived with was the fact that his wife betrayed him.
The final lesson that Rinieri could teach the wife in “Bisclavret” would be to make sure that the person whom you seek to revenge learns from their punishment. When Rinieri makes Elena suffer in the scorching sun, on the tower, she begins to reflect on all of the wrong that she has done. She begs for her life on several occasions, but Rinieri does not give in to her. Elena readily says that she will give up her faithless young man altogether, and make Rinieri her only lover and master (Waldman 516). Rinieri, hearing her pleas, still made her suffer longer. When he finally allowed her to come down from the tower, she was forever changed. She refused to ever think of her lover and never played on a man’s affections again.
Unfortunately, the wife in “Bisclavret” did not teach her husband a lesson. She thought that her plan had removed Bisclavret from her life forever, but she was wrong. He did not learn any lesson. She should have kept him confined somewhere until he learned not to disrupt another woman’s life. Instead, a year later, Bisclavret saw her and tore her nose off of her face. Then, the king subjected her to torture so that she would reveal where she put Bisclavret’s clothes. To make matters worse, later on in her life, she had some nose-less children.
Obviously, Rinieri could teach the wife in “Bisclavret” several ways to develop a successful revenge strategy. Rinieri had patience and waited for an opportunity to arise, and the wife immediately took her plan into action. Rinieri made Elena understand why he was getting revenge on her, but the wife did not attempt to make her husband understand.
Finally, Rinieri made sure Elena learned a lesson from her punishment, but the wife’s husband learned no lesson at all. If the wife in “Bisclavret” could have followed Rinieri’s guidelines when she wanted to seek revenge on her husband, her later misfortune would not have occurred. When a person wishes to get revenge on another, they have to develop a precise plan so that what goes around will not come back around to them again.
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