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It is often true that one ruins themselves when they betray a friend. Its always better to have an enemy that slaps you in the face than a friend who stabs you in the back as the saddest thing about betrayal is that it often comes from your dearest friend and not your worst enemy. Breaking someone’s trust is like crumpling a piece of paper, no matter how hard you try to smoothen it out back to its original state, it always remains the same. Similarly in William Shakespeare’s play ‘Macbeth’ and the novel ‘Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini, both the authors used character and tropology to demonstrate how over ambition leads to the betrayal of a devoted friendship which results in a feeling of guilt and anxiety, making it difficult to live a peaceful life.
Firstly, both pieces of literature used the ECD character to demonstrate the treacherous nature of true friends. When Macbeth was crowned as the new King, he started to fear that the witches apparitions will be correct and would be dethroned by one of Banquo’s descendants. This thought of selfishness and envy made him kill his closest friend, thus breaking their friendship once and for all. He tries to avoid his past actions by saying, “I drink to the general joy o’ th’ whole table. And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss.” (3.4.92-94). In this quote, we see Macbeth’s regret and remorse in his eyes for the sinful crime he committed as he stares at Banquo’s ghost. He tries to convince himself that he wasn’t responsible for Banquo’s death. It was his ambition that blinded him to betray one of his most loyal friends, and it is getting difficult for him to live with that feeling of guilt.
Furthermore, Amirs betrayal to Hassan by not helping him when he got raped showed how guilty he was when he tried to get rid of his best friend by framing him. Amir “lifted Hassan’s mattress and planted his new watch and a handful of Afghani bills under it” (Hosseini, 110). Amir always craved for Baba’s attention and had one opportunity to finally get his love, which was by winning the kite Tournament. When he cuts down the last kite, Hassan runs after it, which leads to the greatest betrayal a friend could do. Amir witnesses that Assef accompanied Hassan as he held Amir’s kite in his hand, refusing to let it go. Hassan gets beaten and raped for his actions, which were the price he had to pay for his loyalty. To this, Amir runs away closing his eyes as all he wanted was to win Baba’s love, even if it meant he had to betray his friend. Amir’s guilt of this unexpected event that occurred to Hassan caused him not to be able to confront him or be anywhere near him. He was shameful for his cowardly nature, and the more he looked at Hassan, the more difficult it became for him to live his life. He tried to get rid of Hassan by framing him. Thus, both Macbeth and Amirs overgrowing ambition along with their selfish nature blinded them to follow the right path of being loyal to their friends. They both tried to avoid their guilt by getting rid of their best friends. Macbeth got Banquo murdered, and Amir framed Hassan which made him leave their house.
Secondly, both William Shakespeare and Khaled Hosseini used the ECD tropology in the form of symbolism to show that ones betrayal always follows them till they concede their guilt. Macbeth’s hallucination, where he sees Banquo’s ghost, makes him go insane as he regrets betraying his faithful friend and confesses the crime. He starts talking with the spirit and says, “Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake Thy gory locks at me. Avaunt, and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee. Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold. Thou hast no speculation in those eyes. Which thou dost glare with! (3.4.100-105). The ghost of Banquo symbolized Macbeth’s guilt towards the betrayal of his best friend because he was the only one in the room seeing that evil spirit despite knowing that it was not real. Banquo’s ghost repeatedly appeared in front of Macbeth, which made him go insane in front of the other nobles. He failed to bury the guilt of Banquo’s death within him, which ultimately lead to his confession. As a result, Macbeth loses all the respect that he had as well as his ambition of becoming a worthy king.
Furthermore, Amirs guilt of being responsible for Hassan’s death and betrayal makes him delusional. He dreams of Hassan’s murder where he says, “I follow the barrel on its upward arc. I see the face behind the plume of smoke swirling from the muzzle. I am the man in the herringbone vest. I woke up with a scream trapped in my throat.” (Hosseini, 252). This dream symbolizes Amir being guilty of betraying Hassan. He always used to think of himself without realizing the consequences Hassan would have to face when he framed him by hiding the money under the mattress. If he had not done that, then Ali and Hassan would not have left them and moved to America, hence living a peaceful life. By seeing himself as Hassan’s murderer, he realizes how his ambition broke their friendship to such an extent that he is now convicted of being Hassan’s executioner instead of the Taliban man. He should have stood behind Hassan when he got raped. Instead of comforting him, he tried to avoid Hassan, making the matter even worse. This dream won’t let Amir live in peace and would always remind him of his sinful act as he now has to face the consequences of betrayal. Thus, both Macbeth and Amir failed to avoid their past as their alluring ambition turned out to be their greatest fear. They both became delusional and started to go insane when they realized that their betrayal came at a high cost. Their guilt made them recognize that it wasn’t their sins they hated, but themselves.
By avoiding the guilt of betrayal, one loses trust in themselves as they often cannot repent for their sinful acts and are haunted until they plead for forgiveness. In William Shakespeare’s play ‘Macbeth’ author used Macbeth’s character to demonstrate the consequences of betrayal he had to face once his growing ambition had taken control of his mind. Macbeth killed his friend Banquo just so that he could protect his position as a king and takes a shot of drink to forget his immorality, which represented his guilt. He is disturbed with his decision of Banquo’s carnage as it wasn’t him who was preventing Macbeth to be King, but his sons. Moreover, when Macbeth sees an illusion of Banquo’s spirit, he jumps up with fear and confesses his deeds. This delusion symbolized Macbeth’s guilt as he goes insane and regrets betraying one his loyal friends.
Similarly, in the novel ‘Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini, the author’s creative use of both character and tropology helps demonstrate how Amir had to face the harms of betrayal when he ran away like a coward after witnessing Hassan’s rape and tried to get rid of him to overcome his guilt. Moreover, when Amir dreams about Hassan’s death, where he sees himself as the executioner, symbolized the guilt he was trying to hide from. Thus it can be concluded that one must not betray their loved ones no matter how enticing their ambition is, as then, they would be haunted by the fear of guilt.
- Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead Books, 2003.
- Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Edited by Ken Roy, Harcourt Canada, 2001.
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