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The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being


by Milan Kundera

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Betrayal Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Michael Henry Heim's translation.

Quote #4

From that time on she had known that beauty is a world betrayed. The only way we can encounter it is if its persecutors have overlooked it somewhere. Beauty hides behind the scenes of the May Day parade. If we want to find it, we must demolish the scenery. (3.7.14)

Sabina's endless string of betrayals might not be about politics or power at all – it is simply about aesthetics. Her life history is the story of the pursuit of beauty. She is an artist, then, in the true sense of the word.

Quote #5

Sabina felt emptiness all around her. What if that emptiness was the goal of all her betrayals?

Naturally she had not realized it until now. How could she have? The goals we pursue are always veiled. [..] The thing that gives our every move its meaning is always totally unknown to us. Sabina was unaware of the goal that lay behind her longing to betray. The unbearable lightness of being-was that the goal? Her departure from Geneva brought her considerably closer to it. (3.10.4-5)

How can something unbearable be the goal of Sabina's betrayals? Why would she pursue something that makes her unhappy? Is this the real reason behind her betrayals, or is there something more going on here?

Quote #6

Tomas turned off the radio and said, "Every country has its secret police. But a secret police that broadcasts its tapes over the radio-there's something that could happen only in Prague, something absolutely without precedent!" (4.2.4)

This is an interesting topic coming off of the issue raised in Part 3 – what it means to live in truth. Remember that Sabina believed one could only live honestly in a private sphere. Franz believed the opposite. What does it mean to live in truth in a world where privacy is forever being violated?

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