By Stevie Simkin (auth.)
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Additional resources for Early Modern Tragedy and the Cinema of Violence
As Pusser takes her attackers apart with his club, he punctuates the blows by reading them their rights. The film is blatant in its populism, and it situates Pusser within a lineage that stretches back to the lawmen of the classic Westerns, legitimating his vigilantism in the face of a deeply corrupt bureaucracy. Dirty Harry and Walking Tall are both predicated on the failure of law and order, the apparent privileging of the criminal’s rights over those of the victim, and the dangers of the urban jungle environment (an Revenge in Its Social Contexts: Late-Twentieth-Century Cinema 47 anxiety exploited with cold efficiency in Death Wish, discussed in more detail in the following chapter).
If The Atheist’s Tragedy (1607) neatly sets the active, villainous seeker of revenge D’Amville on the one hand, against the virtuous Charlemont, who resigns himself to accepting and waiting on divine providence on the other, D’Amville is by far the more vital character (there is a similar dichotomy in Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta). 19). Hamlet, of course, struggles with the morality of revenge throughout the action: it is only at the end of the play, in the mysterious calm he experiences as he approaches the eye of the storm, that he seems to accept his fate.
Introduction: ‘Don’t Get Mad, Get Even’ 23 revenge, with ideas and debates about justice and retribution ramifying in ways that are impossible to record comprehensively. 3 If the popular arts supply a space for the dreams and fears of a culture, it should not surprise us to find revenge returning to haunt us like a recurring nightmare, or (to some, or in some circumstances) a reassuring, cathartic fantasy. John G. ’4 The protracted, graphic display of the plotting and enactment of revenge allows the audience a space in which they may indulge their own frustrations and fantasies, while allowing them to endorse the orthodox abhorrence of such base drives and emotions in the real world.