Adelle, Haleigh, and Matt
AP English 12 per. 3
Mrs. Bear
September 19, 2010


Original Story

Judas was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus by identifying him to Roman officers. For 30 pieces of silver, Judas identified Jesus by kissing him, giving rise to the phrase “Judas Kiss”. At the last supper, Jesus foretold that one of their number would betray him. After the death of Jesus, Judas hanged himself in remorse. Side theories claim that Judas was blameless for his betrayal, as it was God’s will that Jesus be sacrificed, or that Jesus himself planned the betrayal with Judas.

The manner of Judas’ death is debated. The most common death of Judas was suicide by hanging. Other theories state that Judas bought a field but fell and “burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out,” or was stoned by the other disciples when his betrayal was discovered.

Direct Allusions

In the book Ulysses, an option for the summer reading, Stephen calls Lynch Judas and follows with the Latin phrase "Et laqueo se suspendit," meaning: "and a noose to hang himself." Lynch had just abandoned Stephen in the Red-Light District of Dublin. Stephen feels betrayed by Lynch as Jesus was betrayed by Judas and wishes Judas’ fate of suicide by hanging upon the aptly named Lynch.

In Dante’s Inferno, Hell is divided into nine different circles. The further in the circle of Hell, the worse the punishment, and, therefore, the worse the people. Judas is said to be in the ninth and final circle of hell, Cocytus: the circle of betrayers. The innermost zone of this circle is named Judecca, after Judas, and is reserved for those who betray a master or benefactor. Judas endures the second worst punishment in hell, that of being eternally eaten by Satan.

Modern Betrayers

Peter Pettigrew

Peter Pettigrew is a modern version of Judas. He is trusted by people who loved and helped him; in return he hands them over to be killed. James Potter had been the unofficial leader of their group of friends at Hogwarts, making him a Jesus figure. The other “disciples,” Sirius Black and Remus Lupin, do hunt Peter down, but are unable to kill him. Peter is later killed by his artificial hand when he attempts to betray Voldemort and allow Harry to escape Malfoy Manor.


Scar from The Lion King is another modern betrayer. Scar arranges his brother’s death then takes his throne. Mufasa trusted Scar to help him up the cliff; Scar instead throws him down to be stampeded by water buffalo. Scar then convinces Simba that Mufasa’s death is his fault causing Simba to flee leaving Scar the sole contender for the crown. Simba later returns and throws Scar down a small cliff to the mercy of the hyenas.


The story of Judas the betrayer teaches us two very important lessons. Judas by all counts dies a horrible death: suicide by hanging, being stoned, or being split asunder. This fosters the idea that betrayers meet bad ends and encourages people to remain loyal. Also, this story conveys the idea that even our friends can turn on us and that it is not wise to trust carelessly; trust is necessary for functional relationships, but being naive can bring great losses.