What Is the Declamation Piece “Vengeance Is Not Ours, It’s God’s” About?

The declamation piece “Vengeance is not ours, it’s God’s” is about the horrors of war a young boy experiences and his desire for vengeance. The piece describes the arrest and subsequent hanging of the speaker’s father, as well as the bomb raid that killed the speaker’s mother and left him blind and destitute. After each of these horrific events, the speaker expresses his desire for vengeance. His mother’s dying words are, “Vengeance is not ours, it’s God’s.”

One of the major themes discussed in this declamation piece is that of vengeance. The title of the piece states that vengeance belongs to God alone and not to man. Throughout the piece, however, this idea is called into question; quite literally, for example, when the speaker asks rhetorically, “Vengeance is not ours?”

This rhetorical question allows the reader to question the true nature and value of vengeance. The speaker of the piece is left a blind, impoverished orphan begging for alms in the streets. Even if he had achieved vengeance, it would have been insubstantial. In that sense, vengeance truly does not “belong” to man at all.

Divinity and vengeance are intertwined throughout the piece, especially given the claim that vengeance belongs to God. The speaker states that, “To forgive is divine but vengeance is sweeter,” changing the original association of vengeance with divinity. Rather than tying vengeance to divinity, forgiveness is said to be divine. This complex interplay highlights the confusion of the speaker as he attempts to discern the true nature of vengeance.