Discussion The morality of revenge themes in rewind novels

Discussion in 'Novel Discussion' started by bethatcat, Nov 24, 2022.

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  1. bethatcat

    bethatcat Active Member

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    Idk if I'm thinking too deeply here, but I've been reading a lot of "main character goes back in time/is reborn and gets revenge on characters who have betrayed/tricked/wronged him in the past life" novels, and they've been rubbing me the wrong way recently.

    Is it actually okay to punish someone for something that haven't actually done yet? You're going to such lengths to absolutely ruin the life of someone for something they might have done if things were different ... Aren't you actually getting "revenge" on someone completely different? Who hasn't yet done the things that you remember?? It's like that black mirror episode tbh

    The way that authors try to circumvent this question often is by the lead making them fall into "traps" to reveal their true evil nature so that the main character is in the clear... There's a legal term for this... ENTRAPMENT... Bruh... It's a punishable crime

    Is it actually justice at this point? Or is it sadism?? I wish authors would confront this question more honestly. Like I'm all for these stories as long as the author acknowledges that there's a grey morality at play here- and that the protagonist isn't some pure white angel for what he's doing... It's okay to make the protagonist a sadist who's just venting the trauma of his past life!! That's still compelling!! Id still root for that guy!! Just don't try to lie to me and tell me that he's completely justified for everything he does...

    Any thoughts?? Am I overthinking?? Screaming into the void??
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2022
  2. canaria23

    canaria23 『  』

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    Well, usually the target of revenge are fucked up even before mc gets killed so its okay most of the time
     
  3. chencking

    chencking [Daolord Grammar Nazi]

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    I don't mind it when executed well, but many novels just use that trope as an excuse for the MC to run into a grunt to murder. If the author makes the character smart enough to hide their actions until then, then I expect the author to make them equally savvy while facing the MC. If the MC easily outs them then it quickly becomes repetitive and annoying.

    To mention a few series that avoid the version of the trope you mentioned:

    I Woke up as the Villain and Regressor Instruction Manual do the reverse, with a villain turning into a good guy due to the protagonist regressing.

    In Kidnapped Dragons and I Became the Villain the Hero is Obsessed With, we see characters change between good / evil due to the MC's actions.

    I am the Fated Villain's MC is so effective that even a regressor cannot handle him.

    And then there are the classic parodies such as HN1F and HSSB which mock MC tropes.
     
  4. MangoGuy

    MangoGuy Rambling Mango

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    The classic psychopass paradox.
     
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  5. asriu

    asriu fu~ fu~ fu~

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    haven't done yet~
    is there any evidence or clue or whatever why they did that on past? is it important for revenge? why not move out from the cycle?

    there plenty way to make it more problematic on moral sense but maybe not so important perhaps~ so there plenty of level on such story similar to other type of story~ well thought execution, just a trope or mix in between which can be amusing on its own way~ you know like slap face for the sake of it~

    nothing wrong with raising questions toward stuff~ do more research or stuff for sate your own curiosity~
     
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  6. Silver Spark

    Silver Spark Well-Known Member

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    It's just like when people drop the novel when the female lead get together with the male lead which had abused her in the past life due to some messed up misunderstanding which is also many times sue to female lead and the husband in this life don't do anything just because she had not done anything stupid.

    Note: any abuse in any form for any reason is unacceptable.
     
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  7. Cheshirecat04

    Cheshirecat04 Active Member

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    I told about that recently.
    I read some of that kind of stories (I have a soft spot on them) and I think the reason we find the revenge tolerable is tied to the antagonists attitude towards MC. Even if they don't take actions yet they will do it if MC doesn't stop them since the story repeats itself.


    For exemple in The villainess reverse the hourglass, Mielle, the WLB, plots to hurt MC even in the second timeline so MC's revenge is justified here. One could say it's self-defense. If she does nothing she will end like the first timeline.

    A counter exemple : Angelic lady.
    MC has been betrayed by those she loved the most. Her fiancé and her best friend. But... whait for it.... best friend gave a love potion to fiancé (the convenient typical trope).
    In the second timeline MC vows revenge. The best friend still plots to hurt MC but the fiancé didn't drink the love option. So, currently he is in love with MC and he doesn't understand why she gives him a cold shoulder.
    But we do. MC is so traumatized (she can't forget the cruelty in his eyes the last time she saw him) she can't find a way to love him again.
    Later she managed to realize the whole brainwashing thing and she finally don't get a revenge against him.
    I find this way of thinking the most realist of all of the stories I have read. Here, MC forgives the one who betrayed her but she doesn't stay with him. Cause her love for him died with her in the first timeline.

    But as for the so called best friend MC will not spare her. She starts her revenge way before best friends actions.

    I haven't read stories when the person who betrayed/wronged/hurt MC without being brainwashed in the first timeline doesn't want to do it in the second timeline.
    So my vision may be biased but I support revenge in this case.

    But it's a really interesting question. Does it make any sense to get your revenge in anticipation? The antagonist will never know the truth behind the whole revenge thing. And MC will never get a true satisfaction since revenge will not erase her suffering nor her death. She/he (don't forget our male friends) will live with the trauma.
     
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  8. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure that this kind of story actually works, but the main justification is that these people are evil by nature, so it's okay for the protagonist to target them. I don't really get any enjoyment out of this kind of revenge story so I tend to avoid them.

    In contrast, I've read books that play with the idea in interesting ways. For example, there's a history novel where the protagonist is from the modern world so when he encounters famous historical figures, he knows what they will become in later years. One of the figures he comes across is one of the most corrupt people in all of history. However, the protagonist encounters this person while in his 20s, and it won't be another four decades before he gets really bad. Otherwise, that figure is extremely capable and hard working. So what the protagonist does is give him an influential position where his talents are allowed to shine but also have people to watch him closely so that he can't step out of line.

    This is untrue. Entrapment is only when the police entice someone into a crime. Members of the general public can generally do so without any consequences. The situation is basically the idea of giving someone enough rope to hang themselves with a bit of letting them get hoisted on their own petard mixed in. Again, I do think that this goes too far in a lot of cases, but figuring out where that line is is the difference between a good and a bad writer.
     
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  9. chencking

    chencking [Daolord Grammar Nazi]

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    You both seem to be misunderstanding what constitutes entrapment.

    While it is true that the entrapment must be done by the police or an agent of the state to be a legal defense, it is not as passive "giving someone enough rope to gang themselves". Entrapment is when said agent of the state persuades the person to commit the crime. The idea behind the defense is that if the agent was not actively encouraging it, then the crime would not have happened. Simply giving them the opportunity to commit the crime ("giving someone enough rope") is a completely different matter.

    On the other hand, if a citizen committed what would be entrapment if it were a police officer, then they may be on the hook for conspiracy charges. They would definitely not be "without any consequences".

    PS: There is also an analogous but stricter duress defense for the latter case.
     
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  10. bethatcat

    bethatcat Active Member

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    To you and the other guy... I was being facetious bruh *skull emoji*
    The point is that in essence, leading someone to do something they might not have otherwise done and then using that as justification for punishment is unethical

    That's a great rec, thank you!!!

    To the first point, yesssss, but also no quite a lot
    the story that broke the camels back for me that lead me to writing this post in the first olace where in his past life, his ex used him as a stepping stone for his ambition, and the betrayal of abandonment shocked him so badly he had a heart attack and died bruh :blobconcerned:

    Like what happened to the ex after rebirth, the ex didn't deserve all that just for being a prick :blobsick::blobsick:
    And he's revealed to be a truly evil person for sure, but only AFTER the revenge plan is underway and only as a RESULT of the machinations of the MC and his new lover lol:blob_teary:




    But yeah, it's the fact the the target of revenge will never know what their truly being punished for that gets me. Like, how is that type of empty revenge satisfying at all??? I will never understand...

    Same concept basically yeah!

    Thank you so much for the recs!!! I'm gonna try them all
     
  11. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

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    That's only if they actually commit a crime. Generally, conspiracy charges aren't going to be much of a thing if someone doesn't perform the deed. And in the case of these stories, all the protagonist does is to provide a scenario where the bad guy wrecks himself.
     
  12. Xian Piete

    Xian Piete Author of many mediocre stories

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    We are people who have never suffered the kinds of terrible lives of these characters judging them from a place of being raised in mostly peaceful societies where these kinds of actions are seen as unthinkable. If you enjoy the stories I don't think you should feel guilty. Likewise, if you find these stories unthinkable, I don't think you should feel bad either.
     
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  13. LeniSnow

    LeniSnow A snow who feels cold

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    Revenge in all shapes and form is no bueno for me.
    Moving on is much appreciated for the novels I read
     
  14. ludagad

    ludagad Addicted to escapist novels

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    Yeah well, I'm the type who prefers to strike first rather than wait for the villain to act and then react to them. If I already know they have malicious intent for me, I'm gonna act before they do. Why endanger myself? I'll probably give them a small chance first (or "entrap" them lol) just to make sure I'm not in a parallel universe where they're suddenly good. Like I was given a second chance at life, I'll definitely do something about bettering it.
     
  15. bethatcat

    bethatcat Active Member

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    Nahh FS take measures to make sure that what happened in the past life doesn't happen again- id Def agree on that-
    But when it becomes less about preventative measures and more about "punishing" someone for a crime a different them has committed, then it's weird to me