By Jill Scott (auth.)
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Extra info for A Poetics of Forgiveness: Cultural Responses to Loss and Wrongdoing
Even if the votes are equal, Orestes wins. (750–756) The Furies are outraged at the disregard for the ancient laws. They curse the land with poison, sterility, and cancer, but there is no question now that they have been demoted and they have no choice but to acquiesce to Athena’s rule. The goddess of wisdom and war has brought restraint and measure to a world, in which brawn and brutality once ruled. Anger-fueled revenge is the modus operandi in the Iliad, and the Oresteia champions justified revenge in the name of civic order, but can we read this trajectory as an overall shift to peace, laying the groundwork for forgiveness and reconciliation?
And this is precisely what Quentin Tarantino offers in Kill Bill I and II. At least as mythical as the Iliad and the Oresteia, Kill Bill provides another opportunity to examine a world where revenge rules. The film helps us to think about why forgiveness is not always desirable or even applicable. Kill Bill can be read as a narcissistic trip through Tarantino’s personal film library, a citation-laden metafilm, chockablock with the clickable links symptomatic of hypermodernity and the age of the blog (Stephens 44); or it can be seen as a film about vigilante justice and gang warfare, about an era when blame, accusation, litigation, and victim rights supersede responsibility and accountability; or maybe the film is about the gender shift from male-driven violence to women with weapons; but Kill Bill is perhaps about nothing—no plot, no characters, and no dialogue (at least not in part one), and no life—just a pile of corpses; or the film might be Tarantino’s manifesto about life itself, playing by the rules and ruling through play.
The Bride’s character is stripped to its bare bones, with neither consciousness nor conscience. Bill is the one who hesitates before he pulls the trigger in the church massacre, and Bill likes to go into long stories, like the big “discussion” about her reasons for leaving him for another man. In contrast to Bill’s philosophizing, the Bride neither subjects herself to self-analysis nor engages in sadness or remorse. ”29 For the Bride, revenge is pure and simple, uncluttered by by-product emotions.