Authors utilize a betrayal kiss in literature in order to add irony to the work by highlighting the contrast between the trust in a kiss and the subsequent treachery that follows. One of the key uses of this motif is found in the Bible passage “Gethsemane” from Mark: Chap. 14. In this story, Judas kisses Jesus in order to identify him for the Roman Empire to capture him and sentence him to death because they do not believe he is the son of God. This motif has been modified in modern literature but still appears in various works such as The Great Gatsby, The Age of Innocence, and The Sun Also Rises. In The Great Gatsby, there is a scene where Daisy kisses Gatsby for the last time before running away with her husband Tom where she “[pulls] his face down” and “[kisses] him on the mouth” (Fitzgerald 64). A similar scene occurs in The Age of Innocence when Archer kisses Ellen, and she “[gives] back all his kiss” even though Archer is engaged and Ellen is married (Wharton 348). In Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Brett kisses Jake “coolly on the forehead” after becoming involved with another man despite the fact that she is already engaged and knows that Jake is madly in love with her (Hemingway 104). The three examples from modern literature do not present the motif in the same way, but the contrast between the trusting kiss and betrayal afterwards is still apparent. Although works of modern literature typically depict a kiss of betrayal as being between two people in love, the motif as presented in the Bible story “Gethsemane” Mark: Chap. 14 paved the way for other authors to use this contrast in order to highlight the extremity of the treachery.
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