The theme that is well brought out in Jorge Luis Borges' "Theme of the Traitor and the Hero" is that of betrayal where the story commences with an interesting narrative on an idea the narrator has stayed with for a story whose details begin to be displayed immediately. It starts at the point of a researcher doing a great book on Fergus Kilpatrick, the hero of all times who was assassinated. The story depicts rebels in Irish of which Kilpatrick is one of them. They find themselves betrayed by this man (Kilpatrik) who then confesses, that yes he did do the act of betraying them- an action that renders him non-existent by execution. The decision to die is a joint agreement between the victim Kalpatrik and the rebels, his death seemingly a step to confirm him as a martyr in example and a hero to be remembered in the history of Ireland. In a heroic role through a consequence of betrayal, the man, Kilpatrik takes the painful sacrifice of self in seeking preservation of the personal image of heroism and the passion of the people in the cause of collective movement under the umbrella of rebellion.
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The setting of the story has been given a somewhat universal image when the description of occurrence puts it at:" Poland, Ireland, the Venetian Republic, some South American or Balkan state. . ." The failure to give the exact place in which the actions take place is perhaps intentionally done in order to bring out the theme more precisely. This is affirmed by the reference to different countries and the explicit indication that it has taken place any way, whatever the location.
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This theme of betrayal in this text has been illustrated as one that can be experienced in any part or country in the world today hence the depiction of many countries like Poland and Ireland for example. The universal orientation is meant to illustrate quite appropriately that in the contemporary society, betrayal is the order of the day. From business to politics and general life, families to relationships; there is always betrayal of a given form and people are always betraying one another. However, unlike in the story, it is very difficult to own up unless one is seeking some fundamental gratification like in the case of Kilpatrik.
In fact, to confirm this feature in the theme, the narrator makes explanation that this occurrence was witnessed in the middle of the 19th century, a time not too far off the recent past.
The impression that the occurrence takes place in an oppressed country just serves to show how these acts of betrayal are initiated on a deeply oppressed background. However, the distinction from this particular one can be identified when one considers that even after betraying his fellow rebels; Kilpratrik does the most astounding of actions and accepts that he was responsible for all the misfortunes that befell his team of rebels. Contrary to contemporary society, this man displays the most extraordinary character of human kind that goes beyond the simple fears of death and more so when it is effected by not just one's authority but also, amazingly by the victim himself. After Nolan finishes his investigation and makes the bold announcement that Kilpatrik is the traitor himself, astonishment is unavoidably witnessed in this environment full of verifiable evidence. Kilpatrik' s unhesitating agreement is enough to hint that this may have been his plan to betray, teach a lesson and pass on as a hero across the nation and an example to draw from by the rest of the world. The signing of his death's agreement by himself adds to the feeling that he had no problem with dieing and he actually did sign the sentence to this effect in person, alone and be used such that his country should never be harmed by "his punishment".
In a further display of this theme across the text, analogies are drawn from the bible and other works in the same line in order to illustrate the unfolding facts. Like Moses, Kilpatrik is described as a conspirator, a magnificent one, the great captain of conspirators who misses to hit the mark, whose preparation he invested time and brain just to perfect it for effect. Moses got just a glimpse of the Promised Land, from Moab and yet did not have a feel of it indeed. This is similar to the condition of Kilpatrik who fails to finish the race and vanishes into death on the eve of mighty victory.
In conclusion, the theme of betrayal stands out and gives one of the most courageous of scenes, where determined masters of war and believers of heroism can display the power of a cause. These masters are ever so determined that they can do whatever is within reach to maintain their heroic status whether this means death. Not many guilty people can accept an offence, more so when it is bound to have dire, permanent implications on the individual. Events of this nature often draw attention from majority of the people and the places of occurrence can easily turn into that kind of place where people marvel at-a unique experience. This explains why the city was equally converted into a 'theatre' in the circumstances of Kilpatrik's death, and a crown of drama.
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