Short Stories About Revenge

Here you can find a short story with a character who seeks vengeance against someone who wrongs them, whether the slight is real or perceived.

These stories might interest an avid reader, or might be suitable short stories for middle school kids.

The Cask of Amontillado | Edgar Allan Poe

The narrator, Montresor, tells the story of how he sought revenge against a man who insulted him. Montresor lures the man into his cellar with the promise of tasting a rare vintage of Amontillado.

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Nunc Dimittis | Roald Dahl

Lionel hears that his friend Janet has said something unflattering about him behind his back. He devises a plan to publicly embarrass her.

The Way Up to Heaven | Roald Dahl

Mrs. Foster is always punctual while her husband seems to take pleasure in delaying her for her appointments. Mrs. Foster plans to fly to see her daughter and granddaughters in Paris. On the morning of her trip, her husband stresses her unbearably by making her wait for him.

The Catbird Seat | James Thurber

Mr. Martin, head of the filing department at a law firm, decides to kill Mrs. Barrows, an annoying and overbearing advisor to the founder, for planning a reorganization of his department.

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In the Kindergarten | Ha Jin

A kindergarten teacher, low on money, organizes her students to pick purslanes (an edible weed), with the promise that they’ll be served them at dinner. Shaona, a new student who’s having trouble fitting in, notices that the teacher gives a lot of the purslanes to someone else.

The Vendetta | Guy de Maupassant

A widow’s son is murdered by a man who then flees to Sardinia. The boy’s mother vows to take revenge against her son’s killer.

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Enoch and the Gorilla | Flannery O’Connor

A famous gorilla from the movies is making a tour of some small theatres. Enoch Emery goes to meet it, with the plan of insulting it. When he gets embarrassed at the event, he decides to do something about it.

Wasps’ Nest | Agatha Christie

John Harrison is out in his garden when he gets an unexpected visit from his old friend, the detective Hercule Poirot. Poirot explains that he has come to investigate a murder that hasn’t yet happened; he’s going to stop it, and he would like his friend’s help.

The Mysterious Mansion | Honore De Balzac

A man’s landlady tells him part of the story of an old dilapidated house involving a Spanish prisoner of war. It’s unclear what became of him so the man tries to get the rest of the details from the housekeeper.

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Mother Sauvage | Guy De Maupassant

The narrator’s old acquaintance tells him the story of Mother Sauvage. Her son went to war fighting the Prussians. Meanwhile, Prussian forces occupy her home territory, and she has four soldiers assigned to live in her home. Both sides understand the situation, and she treats them well. When she gets news of her son’s death her attitude toward them changes.

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The Five Forty-Eight | John Cheever

When Blake steps off the elevator after work, he sees a woman he knows but doesn’t want to speak to. He realizes she is stalking him. He thinks about their brief relationship, and believes she will be easy to shake.

Read “The Five Forty-Eight”

Barn Burning | William Faulkner

Abner Snopes is being tried in a small-town court for allegedly burning down his landlord’s barn. He’s kicked out of town, and finds a new job working as a sharecropper.

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The Limitations of Pambe Serang | Rudyard Kipling

The narrator relates the story of Pambe Serang and a man who wronged him, Nurkeed. They were both aboard a ship, the Saarbruck. After Nurkeed had been drinking, he stole some of Pambe’s food. In the ensuing confrontation, Pambe gets stabbed and vows to settle the matter later.

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To the Man on the Trail | Jack London

A group of men are in the Alaskan wilderness in a bar after a long day’s work. A visitor named Westondale comes in, tells a story about following someone, talks about his family, and asks to be awakened in a few hours so he can continue on his journey. Shortly after he leaves, the police arrive with a different story.

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An Official Position | Somerset Maugham

Louise Remire is serving 12 years in a penal colony for the murder of his wife. He is the colony’s executioner and this position of power and his attitude make him unpopular with the other inmates.

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The Outstation | Somerset Maugham

Mr. Wharburton, an Englishman, runs an outstation in a remote part of Borneo. He meets his new assistant, Cooper, a man much different from himself. Cooper is irresponsible and treats the locals with disdain.

The Veldt | Ray Bradbury

A family lives in a futuristic house that automatically meets all their needs, including a nursery for the children that can create any scene they want. The parents are thinking about reducing their reliance on technology by taking a break from the nursery and all the automation, but the children are against the idea.

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Silence | Tadeusz Borowski

A man is seized in a German barracks and dragged into an alley. The mob is broken up when they are warned of an approaching company of American soldiers.

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Sweat | Zora Neale Hurston

Delia supports her abusive, cheating husband by washing clothes. He comes up with a plan to get rid of her, so he can take up with his mistress.

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A Jury of Her Peers | Susan Glaspell

When a farmer in Dixon County is found dead in his bed–strangled–his wife is held on suspicion of murder. The local authorities investigate while two of their wives collect some items for the accused.

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Vision Out of the Corner of One Eye | Luisa Valenzuela

A woman on a bus gets fondled by the man next to her.

Read “Vision…”

Water | Fred Leebron

The narrator describes a former lover and friend who are now together. While watering the friend’s plants, he also takes the opportunity to do something else.

Read “Water”

The Shot | Alexander Pushkin

A regiment of Russian soldiers often goes to the home of Silvio, a mysterious man, to play cards and drink. A young soldier insults Silvio, but he lets it pass; he doesn’t challenge him to a duel as honor demands. This lowers his esteem in the eyes of his guests.

Read “The Shot”

I will try to add more stories about revenge that could be helpful for teaching reading and reading comprehension to middle and high school students. Eventually, I hope these pages will become a teaching resource.