Is There Happily Ever After in Revenge?
I recently got a chance to watch Maleficent. If you are not familiar with it, it is the backstory of the “wicked” fairy who casted the spell on Aurora in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. I loved that movie, so much so, I watched a second time, and put on my analytical hat and made mental notes. In doing so, I saw some of myself in this character. Maleficent wasn’t just your run of the mill villain that happens to be a staple in every Disney classic. She actually began as a carefree, happy, and kind fairy. She was minding her business doing her fairyism when some crusty negro (he wasn’t black, but y’all get it) wandered into her space. She reluctantly let him in, and as time passed they cultivated a friendship. When they grew into their teens he pretended to love her, left for some time, then returned. She trusted him. She let her guard down again. Now catch this, he then drugged her and cut her wings off her back so that he could become a king!
Maleficent became bitter and determined to avenge her broken heart and stolen wings. Maleficent tried hurting King Stefan by harming his daughter, Aurora, but as the movie progressed, Maleficent actually grew fond of Aurora and realized she had made a mistake in cursing the princess. Her actions mirrored my own when I’ve been done wrong in the past. You know what I mean, that “I’m gonna get you sucker” mentality. Trying to get even with someone does not turn out well, and that’s a lesson that was learned before viewing the film. A key takeaway is that it is okay to be angry, sad, and hurt. However, it is not okay to dwell on it where you become engulfed in the pain and consumed with trying to avenge the wrongdoing by any means. I have learned that when people treat you poorly, they will get exactly what they deserve if you just charge it to the game and let it go.
Towards the end of the movie when engaged in battle, Maleficent tried walking away instead of killing Stefan, but he decided to run up on her and ended up falling to his death. With that being said, it is not evident on whether or not she forgave him. However, forgiveness was a somewhat hidden, critical lesson that I took away from watching everything unfold. This movie really put the whole “forgiveness isn’t for the other person, it’s for you” quote into perspective for me. Had Maleficent forgiven Stefan and moved on, she wouldn’t have had to worry about undoing the curse she placed on Aurora out of anger and resentment. It isn’t about whether or not someone deserves your forgiveness. It’s about freeing your mind and heart of that bitterness and anxiety so that you can continue to flourish unbothered and uninterrupted.
The final lesson of Maleficent is seen in Stefan’s character. He is an example to us all that some people are just bad people, and no matter what, they will remain that way until their dying day. In the movie, only when Maleficent showed up to show out, did he ask for mercy. Stefan was treacherous, and lacked both empathy and integrity. People like him have no regard for other’s feelings, and will mistreat and undercut another all in the name of satisfying their own selfish desires. They will do all of the wrong in the world, disregard it, then victimize themselves once it finally catches up to them. He cared not about harming someone who accepted and loved him. He didn’t blink twice after betraying her and snatching her wings. If I re-call the movie correctly, he never offered her an apology or tried to make amends by returning her wings, and had the nerve to want to go after her when he was the one who orchestrated what became a domino effect. In the case of these types of people, it is just best to walk away and never look back.
Deceit and betrayal committed by someone we love and trust is nothing new to most of us. If you haven’t experienced it yet, keep living. Maleficent served as a cautionary tale of how not to go about dealing with hurt, pain, and anger; as well as, reassuring us that in the end, everyone will always get served what they deserve. Bon appetit!