“The rarer action is/ In virtue than in vengeance”

Explain what you think is the meaning of “The rarer action is/ In virtue than in vengeance”.

This line from the Tempest is spoken by Prospero when he makes the decision to forgive those who wronged him rather than continuing to seek revenge. It is a pivotal moment in the play and marks a turning point for the outcome, which would otherwise have veered into Tragedy territory. It is a line that stands out as it speaks to the modern audience just as well as the Shakespearean one.  It refers to the human tendency for vengeance, and how it is far more difficult and less common to forgive those who we feel have wronged us. In the modern context, this could be equated to the notion of ‘payback.’ This term has a negative connotation and is the idea that people should receive equal treatment in return for their actions (usually negative).


Unrelated note: how amazing is this artwork of Prospero and Ariel:




Image: http://www.mikekenanderson.com/the-rarer-action-is-in-virtue-than-in-vengeance

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s