Study Guide

The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge What's Up With the Epigraph?

By Michael Punke

What's Up With the Epigraph?

Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
-ROM. 12:19

What's up with the epigraph?

At first, this epigraph seems like a classic case of Pulp Fiction syndrome: a quote scooped from the Bible simply because it uses ominous words like "wrath" and "vengeance." Dig a little deeper, however, and you'll realize that this epigraph gives us a hint as to where the novel will end up.

After all, this quote is telling us not to take revenge. Vengeance, it claims, is something that only God does, not people. That's an important distinction. What's more, it seems to contradict the novel itself, which is primarily concerned with one man's unrelenting quest for revenge. So what are we supposed to make of it?

We'll answer that question with another one: does Glass actually take his revenge? The answer is pretty much a whopping no. Revenge might be Glass's main motivator to survive his ordeal, but he ultimately walks away empty-handed, choosing to forgive his enemies rather than punish them.

Hmm...maybe Glass is a godlier man than we realized.