In Sophocles’s play that bears her name, Electra speaks of her father’s murder as a sorrow (or evil) that cannot be forgotten and describes her own passion (or anger) in similar terms, though in this case the Greek for “not forgetting” (our láthei) might better be translated from its root meaning—“it does not escape notice,” “it is not hidden.” The image is of anger as a thing that the mind cannot bury, cannot help being aware of. Electra’s passion won’t let her alone. It’s intrusive. It bugs her. We do not control the unforgettable; it controls us.

The spirits of such unforgetting are called the Furies, the Erinyes. They cling to the memory of hurt and harm, injury and insult. Their names are Grievance, Ceaseless, and Bloodlust. Their names are Grudge, Relentless, and Payback. They bloat the present with the undigested past. “Most dreaded of the forces of insomnia,” they harry the mind, demanding for its release a ransom paid in blood.

— Lewis Hyde, A Primer for Forgetting: Getting Past the Past


New caution.— Let us stop thinking so much about punishing, reproaching, and improving others! We rarely change an individual, and if we should succeed for once, something may also have been accomplished, unnoticed: we may have been changed by him. Let us rather see to it that our own influence on all that is yet to come balances and outweighs his influence. Let us not contend in a direct fight — and that is what all reproaching, punishing, and attempts to improve others amount to. Let us rather raise ourselves that much higher. Let us color our own example ever more brilliantly. Let our brilliance make them look dark. No, let us not become darker ourselves on their account, like all those who punish others and feel dissatisfied. Let us sooner step aside. Let us look away.

— Nietzsche, The Gay Science