The 11th episode of the 18th season of The Simpsons played tonight on Channel 4.
Watching The Simpsons on a weekday evening has been a tradition in my personal life, and there isn’t often an episode that comes on that I haven’t seen. But tonight was such an occasion. The episode was called “Revenge is a Dish Best Served Three Times”. A Texan in his cowboy car irritates Homer whilst he drives along the road with his family, and before Homer can get revenge by ramming into the Texan’s car and hitting him with a baseball bat, Marge, Lisa and Bart try to prevent him from resorting to revenge by telling a tale each.
Marge tells the story of a man who escapes from prison (falsely convicted) and instead of returning straight to the woman he loves spends 5 years getting revenge on various people, finally killing his loves’ new husband. She then, rejecting him, says to him: “You spent so much time plotting your revenge, you lost everything that really mattered.”
Lisa’s story shows a bullied boy in her school become a bully: “When you take revenge, you become just as bad as the person you harm.”
Anyway by the end their cars have broken down and Homer has to listen to Bart’s story – by the end the texan and himself have spoken long enough to get over their differences.
The play I am currently reading for the exam part of my English Literature course is called “The Revenger’s Tragedy.” I’ve only read the first two scenes so far, but have quickly established that the play is probably going to be quite effectively summed up by the line “to be honest is not to be i’ th’ world.” The damning statement about mankind in this play depicts a deeply Satanic existence where revenge, hypocrisy and violence reign. It certainly is a “tragedy” of a play.
Today’s mix of English Literature and The Simpsons has reinforced in me something that didn’t really need reinforcing for me, but which I wanted to write about. Marge and Lisa are very wise. The feminine of God speaks through them tonight. And whilst I didn’t expect it so soon, Thomas Middleton’s / Cyril Tourneur’s play has been useful to me.
Revenge is never the answer. The justice system, law, can be corrupt. It doesn’t always work out. But revenge never helps.
Be like Jesus. Love one another. “Put down your swords.” Be at peace.