Revenge is natural and it is good for you, says David Chester of Virginia Commonwealth University, a researcher who has been studying human aggression.

Revenge, and the desire to inflict retribution is a hard-wired evolutionary response, interestingly built in to provide emotional recovery. When an individual is slighted or wronged, a sharp emotional pain is created, and the brain tries to provide homeostasis through revenge, which triggers the brain’s reward circuit, the nucleus accumbens. Further studies showed that not only does the actual act of vengeance create a neural stimulation, but the anticipation of revenge creates a craving, which goes some way to explaining the erratic behaviour sometimes seen in individuals.

Students going for Classics should think about revenge forms the basis of some of the prolific works that they might read eg. Achilles’ revenge on Hector for the death of Patrocles; Hera’s multiple revenges on Zeus. Biology students should think about evolutionary traits and how they are passed on, and how they can be tested to a scientific level.

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