The Aesthetic of Resentment and the Precariousness of Labor Relations


Hatched by Thati

Jan 24, 2024

3 min read


The Aesthetic of Resentment and the Precariousness of Labor Relations


The concept of resentment and its aesthetic appeal in dramaturgy have long been explored, as it creates a sense of identification and sympathy among the audience. The resentful character, who sees themselves as morally superior to others, becomes a justified avenger, driven by a deep sense of injustice. However, the roots of resentment lie in the refusal to engage with one's own desires and the subsequent need for revenge against perceived agents of unhappiness. This article delves into the nature of resentment, its manifestation in drama, and its connection to the precariousness of labor relations in the context of the gig economy.

Understanding Resentment:

Ressentimento, or resentment, is a recurring feeling that stems from the renunciation of one's desires and the subsequent blaming of others for one's own unhappiness. The resentful individual oscillates between denying self-recognition and holding others responsible for their actions or desires. Overcoming resentment requires acknowledging this ambivalence and allowing others to occupy a different place in one's psyche. The repetition of resentment functions similarly to a symptom, maintaining the repressed and providing a sense of enjoyment through its repetition.

Nietzsche and the Pathology of Resentment:

Nietzsche, in his work "Genealogy of Morals," exposes the pathology of resentment and challenges the moral dichotomy between good and evil. He replaces it with the distinction between good and bad, arguing that the weak and suffering harbor a deep hatred for life. The prohibition of action leads to the internalization of the individual, resulting in a sense of depth and introspection. The resentful character becomes preoccupied with internal monologues, avoiding contact with others and seeking a sense of psychological interest.

The Aesthetic of Resentment in Film:

The film "The Piano," directed by Jane Campion, exemplifies the aesthetic of resentment. It explores the oppression of women in marriage and portrays the protagonist as a victim seeking revenge. The film captures the hope of holding others accountable for one's actions and decisions, allowing the audience to experience vicarious power and a sense of innocence regarding their desires. Additionally, the film "Dead Man," directed by Jim Jarmusch, presents a contrasting perspective, depicting the journey of a naive individual facing the consequences of random choices. It represents the possibility of overcoming resentment and embracing personal growth.

Connecting Resentment to the Precariousness of Labor Relations:

The rise of the gig economy and the phenomenon of labor "uberization" have led to the precarization of labor relations in Brazil. The gig economy, characterized by temporary and flexible work arrangements, often lacks the protection and stability provided by traditional employment. This shift has created a fertile ground for resentment among workers who feel exploited and undervalued. The insecurity and lack of social support contribute to the perpetuation of resentment, as individuals struggle to find stable employment and financial security.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Foster self-awareness and reflection: To overcome resentment, it is crucial to engage with one's desires and take responsibility for one's actions. Developing self-awareness can help individuals recognize their own role in their circumstances and avoid projecting blame onto others.
  • 2. Advocate for fair labor practices: As individuals, we can support movements and organizations that fight for fair labor practices and workers' rights. By actively participating in initiatives that aim to improve labor conditions, we can contribute to reducing the prevalence of resentment in the workplace.
  • 3. Embrace empathy and understanding: Cultivating empathy and understanding towards others can help break the cycle of resentment. By recognizing the shared struggles and challenges faced by individuals in the gig economy, we can foster a more compassionate and supportive work environment.


Resentment, with its aesthetic appeal and inherent desire for revenge, plays a significant role in both dramaturgy and real-life labor relations. Understanding the origins of resentment and its connection to the precariousness of work can provide insights into addressing and overcoming this destructive emotion. By promoting self-awareness, advocating for fair labor practices, and embracing empathy, we can contribute to a healthier and more fulfilling work environment for all.

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