Betrayal in American Literature

 

“The Betrayal of Judas and the Arrest of Christ”

Betrayal is an important theme in the Bible, as it is central to the crucifixion. The most prominent story concerning betrayal is Judas’s betrayal of Jesus. In this story, Judas betrays Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. This theme of betrayal has greatly influenced American literature over the years. A Romantic work that includes betrayal is The Scarlet Letter. In this story, Hester betrays her husband Chillingworth when she has an affair with Dimmesdale. Dimmesdale has also betrayed his own moral code and the doctrine of the church for which he is a pastor. Betrayal is seen in the era of Realism with Huck Finn. In this novel, Jim is captured and then sold. This connects to the Bible because Judas “sinned by betraying innocent blood” (Matthew : 27, English Standard Version) and Jim has not committed any crime. Betrayal in Modernism can be found in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Biff betrays his father by refusing to follow his professional path. In addition, Biff is also betraying society by refusing to conform to social conventions.

Image Source:  “The Betrayal of Judas and the Arrest of Christ” by Ugolino di Nerio   http://tinyurl.com/gwmcdqa

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