Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Fascination Of Betrayal

Der Dolchstoss

Why Is It Fun To Betray The One Who Trusts & Confides In You?

I am sure psychologists would have spent years upon years in analyzing the urge in human beings to betray a person who trusts and confides in them.

A 1983 movie

Take the case of Judas Iscariot. What made him go and make a deal with the priests to expose Jesus Christ? The story goes that the betrayal was plotted for thirty pieces of silver. But Judas used to carry the money bag of the apostles - so surely, was he really lured by money?

'The Kiss of Judas' - by Giotto de Bondone

Take the case of Sandy Stranger, a student of Miss Jean Brodie, the conservative school teacher in Muriel Spark's novel - "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie". From the time she was ten years old, Sandy grew up under the tutelage of Miss Brodie. The teacher even anoints Sandy as a trusted confidante from the entire lot of six girls who formed the "Brodie Group". Sandy has an affair with Miss Brodie's lover, the married Teddy Lloyd. (So, Lloyd betrays his wife when she is away, too.) And then Sandy turns her mentor to the dogs, by suggesting to the orthodox principal Miss Mackay that the latter frame Miss Brodie as a fascist. Now whatever drove Sandy to walk into the principal's office and spill the beans? Rebellion?

'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie', by Muriel Spark

And then we have "that woman" whose famous "navy blue dress" was not sent to the Dry cleaners after all. It is now almost a decade since the stains became public, but I still wonder: what drew Monica to Linda Tripp, a woman older to her by twenty four years? Not only Monica, but Kathleen too - in fact, of all the possible confidantes in the world, these women would find only Linda whom to confide with. Granted, women do have this "need" (^|^) to have somebody to share their secrets with, especially if the catch happens to be so powerful a man. What void in Monica's and Kathleen's persona did Linda fill? How did the chemistry match so perfectly, like moth and flame?

Monica's blue dress Linda Tripp

"I hate Linda Tripp." - were her last words in the testimony. What exactly did Linda gain? Exactly what went on in her mind when she pressed the "RECORD" button on her cassette recorder? Now, let's keep the "sense of patriotic duty" story aside for the time being. If she was hoping for a book deal or some such lucrative transaction, nothing seems to have come of it. She got her fifteen minutes of limelight, of course.

Ho hum.

'Big Fish Eat Little Fish', image by Bruegel

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