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Madison
08-19-2008, 09:56 PM
One of my characters is a double agent/traitor, but a very deep and literary guy. I want him to be slightly obsessed with some famous book that is either about a traitor/double agent or deals with issues of betrayal... I'd use the book as a hint to my character's real... er, character.

Problem is... I can't think of any books! Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thank you!

(and I'm not sure if this is the right forum, mods, so please move the thread if necessary :) )

emeraldcite
08-19-2008, 10:08 PM
Moving on down to research. Good luck!

Sophia
08-19-2008, 10:09 PM
I can't think of a famous fictional traitor, except perhaps Peter Pettigrew from the Harry Potter books, and that's probably not what you want! Here's one site that might be of some help: The Ten Biggest Traitors in History (http://www.whataboutbrazil.com/the-ten-biggest-traitors-in-history/). You might like to consider him having a biography of one of them, or of the people they betrayed.

mscelina
08-19-2008, 10:14 PM
Benedict Arnold is a classic case of a traitor and a good basis for any character. You might also want to look into the motivations not only of him but the people around him--his wife, the relationship with General Washington, et cetera to see how his circumstances developed his willingness to betray the cause he fought for. Good luck.

Ageless Stranger
08-19-2008, 10:23 PM
Et tu, Brute?

citymouse
08-19-2008, 10:26 PM
Try Brutus on for size. Conflicted with his love for Caesar and his love for Rome.

"The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious.
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answered it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest --
For Brutus is an honorable man..." Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

C

Ol' Fashioned Girl
08-19-2008, 10:36 PM
Can't beat Judas for a good traitor.

Madison
08-19-2008, 10:37 PM
Ooh - good ideas! Thanks!

And just to clarify, I'm looking for fiction, not nonfiction :) ie Brutus... I'm onto that!

Phil DeBlanque
08-19-2008, 10:47 PM
Shakespeare’s Othello?

Your character could quote Iago’s “divinity from hell” often

angeliz2k
08-19-2008, 10:57 PM
Ooh - good ideas! Thanks!

And just to clarify, I'm looking for fiction, not nonfiction :) ie Brutus... I'm onto that!

Well, Brutus was real, as are a lot of these other people (Benedict Arnold, Judas Iscariot, and so on). I like the idea of Iago if you really really want a totally fictional character, but I think one of the others would be better. People would know them more. And you could have your character obsessed with bios of them or their portrayal in a specific fiction book (there are plenty of historical fiction novels about them each, I'm sure).

Madison
08-19-2008, 11:31 PM
Isn't Iago from Othello?

oh - I see the correction, phil, never mind

waylander
08-19-2008, 11:36 PM
Saruman from LotR?

Madison
08-19-2008, 11:40 PM
The problem with Arnold and Iscariot (and Iago, too) is that my character isn't the villain. He's the mc's boyfriend. He's quazi-evil at first because it appears that he's on the bad side, but actually he's a double agent... However, he feels like a traitor because his family is in charge of the bad side and in the end he will have to destroy them.

I guess such a character could identify with Arnold, etc., but I'm not sure I want to draw the comparison??

Are there any famous (preferably fictional) characters who are good traitors? Or characters who struggle with betraying loved ones for a good cause?

'scuse my rambling, I just think better when I'm typing :)

thanks for all the help!

Sarpedon
08-20-2008, 12:03 AM
If you want a famous traitor who is also a character in a great book, try Tsao Tsao, who kept the last emperor of the Han locked in his palace, and ruled in his name. This is part of the book "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms," which is the most popular book in China, so I hear. (and one of my favorites) There are a number of great traitors in that book, if you prefer, there's Dong Zhou, who plundered small villages, then claimed to have defeated bandits. He also had people tortured for entertainment at his banquets.

Here are some other famous traitors I can think of:

The french have a word for 'betray' which is 'Raguser' after the Duke Marmont of Ragusa, who betrayed Napoleon.

And of course, during the middle of the 20th century 'Quisling' was widely used for a person who aids an invading power, after Vidkun Quisling, a Norwegian who aided the Nazis in occupying his country.

I think the Chinese still use 'Zhao Gao' as an insult, after the 3rd (BCE) century government official of the same name, who kept the emperor in a constant state of pleasure and merrymaking while he (Zhao Gao) ran the empire for his own benefit.

There are also the Rosenbergs...ooh! what was the name of that british guy in the sixties?..arg! He'll have a book or two written about him. He and three other guys...dang it! They were named after some british school...Cambridge! Philby! Kim Philby! Here's a movie about them: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0346223/

Those are the really famous ones that I know.

DeeCaudill
08-20-2008, 12:22 AM
John Galt?

That might be a can of worms you don't want to open...

IceCreamEmpress
08-20-2008, 12:29 AM
Clearly if your character is a good guy who has to pretend to be a baddie he's going to identify with Severus Snape.

Phil DeBlanque
08-20-2008, 12:29 AM
The problem with Arnold and Iscariot (and Iago, too) is that my character isn't the villain. He's the mc's boyfriend. He's quazi-evil at first because it appears that he's on the bad side, but actually he's a double agent... However, he feels like a traitor because his family is in charge of the bad side and in the end he will have to destroy them.

I guess such a character could identify with Arnold, etc., but I'm not sure I want to draw the comparison??

Are there any famous (preferably fictional) characters who are good traitors? Or characters who struggle with betraying loved ones for a good cause?

'scuse my rambling, I just think better when I'm typing :)

thanks for all the help!

Ah, I see.
Let me see... The English Patient, from the book of the same name, by Michael Ondatje?

Puma
08-20-2008, 01:25 AM
From what I understand (and I have never read the book), The Most Dangerous Man in America tells about Ben Franklin's role as an agent, counter agent and I think it may have even been triple agent. I guess he was in the employ of the French (and possibly British) while he was becoming an American patriot. Puma

TheIT
08-20-2008, 03:58 AM
Different tangent, perhaps, but what about Inspector Javert from Les Miserables? He pursued what he thought was his duty despite all odds until he finally realized the person he thought was a villain really wasn't and killed himself. Javert does act as a double agent at one point in the story. I've only seen the musical so I'm not sure of all the details.

Priene
08-20-2008, 09:34 AM
In Luther Blissett's novel Q (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q_(novel)), the protagonist is a radical Protestant pursued over decades by Qatafa, a spy for the Roman Catholic church. Qatafa betrays the Protestants at every opportunity and, in the end, betrays the Catholics as well.

JimmyB27
08-20-2008, 01:22 PM
Are there any famous (preferably fictional) characters who are good traitors? Or characters who struggle with betraying loved ones for a good cause?

'scuse my rambling, I just think better when I'm typing :)

thanks for all the help!
Dr Yueh, from Dune betrays the Atreides' to buy death for his beloved wife, who was kidnapped and tortured by the Harkonnens.

Bmwhtly
08-20-2008, 02:31 PM
Kim Philby was an officer in MI6 during the cold war who, over a period of years, leaked information to the Russian intelligence service. He then defected and blew the cover of dozens of MI6 officers, including John LeCarre (the novelist)

So LeCarre fictionalised the hunt for the traitor in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
Good book, too.

Sarpedon
08-20-2008, 05:15 PM
Or you could get shakespearian.

What better traitor is there than MacBeth?

Ageless Stranger
08-20-2008, 05:42 PM
Or you could get shakespearian.

What better traitor is there than MacBeth?

"To-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale,
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

Genius.

Kathie Freeman
08-20-2008, 06:52 PM
How about mafia family members who turned informant? Here is a website with a list:
http://www.onewal.com/maf-info.html

Shamisen
08-20-2008, 11:55 PM
Tsao Tsao... Cao Cao...?

Oh God, I've just shown myself to be a nerd, haven't I? Ah well.

Sarpedon
08-21-2008, 12:57 AM
Yeah, it depends on the transliteration.

I've always prefered the Ts one, although I know the Pinyin is the more widely accepted one. My apologies.

Shamisen
08-21-2008, 12:36 PM
No need to apologise, I was just wondering if I was right in thinking that Cao Cao and Tsao Tsao were one and the same. Damn Dynasty Warriors.

SLThomas
08-28-2008, 04:16 PM
I don't know the name but there is a French-Canadian traitor that apparently guided the Brits up the cliff at Cap-Diamant in Quebec City on the evening before the Battle Of Plaines D'Abraham in 1760.

Some historians say that it's a rumour started by the French ashamed of losing New-France (easier to blame a lowly traitor instead of admiting that the Brits beat you), others say that he existed and was too scared of going public. Rumors of him being hanged or of him being given money and a house in England (very unlikely for a French Catholic) abound.

It's a great historical mystery.

Lord Haw-Haw is also a good one, akin to Tokyo Rose.

Terry L. Sanders
09-02-2008, 02:44 AM
If you're looking for fictional traitors who were convinced they were doing the right thing, you might try a couple of Tom Clancy's novels:

THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER: Marko Ramius
(The book, NOT the movie--Sean Connery was great but his script didn't really resemble the book.
(And I suppose, technically, he was a defector rather than a "traitor" in the sense you mean...)

THE CARDINAL OF THE KREMLIN
(I don't remember the character's name--he was an extremely high-ranking general in the Soviet high command, and passed information to the Americans because he thought the Communist government was a threat to the Russian people. Clancy treated both him and the Russian security people trying to expose him with sympathy. He might be a good one for you.)

Another possibility would be Boromir from THE LORD OF THE RINGS, who betrayed the Fellowship by trying to steal the ring--because he honestly thought destroying such a weapon was insane, with Sauron at the gates.

If you're going for something more obscure, maybe Michaels (I think his name was) from FANTASTIC VOYAGE, who betrayed the crew of the Proteus to (as he saw it) stop a new arms race.

If you're looking for someone more ambivalent, one I haven't seen mentioned so far would be Edmund from THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE. But I gather that isn't the direction you're going.