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Posted on August 30th, 2012, by

The definition of the word “betrayal”¯ is often accompanied by numerous difficulties because the word can be applied in different contexts and, depending on the discourse, the word “betrayal”¯ can have different implications. At the same time, regardless of possible differences in the context in which the word “betrayal”¯ is applied, its overall definition do not vary consistently, but it is important to take into consideration contextual complications in order to understand the meaning and significance of the word “betrayal”¯ properly.

Basically, the word “betrayal”¯ can be defined as the act of betraying someone or something or as the fact of being betrayed. In this respect, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that “betrayal”¯ can be viewed from two different angles. On the one hand, it can be viewed as the act of betraying that means that the word “betrayal”¯ refers to the action. Therefore, this word implies certain actions that can be or are undertake in relation to someone or something. On the other hand, betrayal can be referred to as a subject, when an individual is betrayed.

In other words, it is possible to apply this word to a committed, accomplished act, which has ceased to be in the course of its performance.

At the same time, it is necessary to take into consideration different contexts, in which the word “betrayal”¯ can be applied. In psychological terms, betrayal is traditionally interpreted as a breakup of social contracts between people, which lead to the act of betraying or the fact of being betrayed (Littlejohn, 119). However, in this respect, it is possible to argue that the breakup of a social contract does not necessarily mean betrayal because the contract can be broken up on the mutual agreement of parties involved or under circumstances which force either party to break the contract.

In addition, betrayal can be viewed in political context. In this respect, the word “betrayal”¯ goes beyond interpersonal relationships of people and involves broader social and political concepts, including honesty, loyalty, devotedness to the nation, and others. As a rule the political betrayal is grounded on the betrayal of the trust of citizens to their state and government. In actuality, such a view on betrayal is typical to people living in democratic countries, while people living in totalitarian states do not trust their rulers and, therefore, they do not view policies which contradict to their interests or beliefs as betrayal, because they cannot influence their policy-makers.

In fact, the definition of betrayal can vary and it is necessary to study the etymology of the word and its various interpretations. In this regard, the study of literature related to this problem is very important. At this point, it is possible to refer to Litteljohn, who managed to explore different contexts and interpretations of such word as “betrayal”¯ and other words. Moreover, the author goes beyond the definition of words but attempts to explore communication contexts.

Thus, the word “betrayal”¯ is the word which has a clear definition, but it can have different shades of meaning depending on the context, in which it is applied.

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