Appealing, Appalling: Morality and Revenge in I Spit on Your Grave (2010)

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The notion of revenge – intentionally seeking to inflict harm in return for a perceived wrong – is encumbered by several ethical and conceptual problems. Even defining revenge is challenging because revenge has been variously distinguished from or combined with retribution and retaliation by numerous thinkers (see Stainton 2006). The present work focuses on one particular conceptual problem: in philosophical scholarship, revenge is reputed to be either morally appealing (satisfying, universally desired, natural, righteous and so forth) or appalling (immoral, universally abhorred, disquieting, and so forth). Although these positions are presented as mutually exclusive in the literature, the sustained presence of both defences and vilifications in revenge scholarship indicates that revenge presents us with a genuine dilemma: revenge is simultaneously appealing and appalling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739-763
Number of pages25
JournalQuarterly Review of Film and Video
Issue number6
Early online date11 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023


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