A Poetics of Forgiveness: Cultural Responses to Loss and by Jill Scott (auth.) PDF

By Jill Scott (auth.)

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Achilles cannot be compared to a morally depraved person in our modern world. In an incredible about-face, Achilles is able to drop his anger and exhibit tenderness, compassion and pity. Similarly, Orestes demonstrates a range of emotional responses, including love, fear, remorse and, finally, gratitude for his release from the consequences of matricide. Even the Bride cannot be described as a thoroughly evil person; during the scenes with her mentors, Bill, Hanzo¯ Hattori and Pai Mei, she exhibits respect and discipline.

In the Agamemnon, the first of the three tragedies, the eponymous hero returns home from battle with his new concubine, Cassandra, and is greeted not with a victor’s welcome but with an axe. Clytemnestra, Agamemnon’s wife, has many reasons for killing the king, and she feels her vengeance is justified. En route to Troy, Agamemnon had sacrificed their eldest daughter, Iphigenia, in order to appease the goddess Artemis. Following matriarchal logic, Clytemnestra claimed the daughter her exclusive offspring, vowing that the father had no right to her life.

The screenplay tells us that, despite his many assassinations, Bill, Tarantino’s male revenge hero, is pure. While Bill is cinematically speaking impure—his character is blended and spliced from countless television and film genres—his lack of self-consciousness makes him pure, just like Achilles. Following the orders of her Kung Fu teacher to “suppress all human emotion,” the film’s female protagonist, the Bride, is equally pure. In Kill Bill, pure anger and the pure excess of violence make forgiveness a moot point.

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