Study Guide

Code Name Verity Betrayal

By Elizabeth Wein

Betrayal

She was anxious last night because she didn't think I'd coughed up enough facts to count as a proper little Judas yesterday. (1.9.XI.43.6)

This does beg the question, how much betrayal is enough betrayal? At what point does one become a traitor?

That heading looks terribly official. I feel better already. Like a proper little Judas. (1.9.XI.43.12)

Apparently headings help with betrayal. Why does Julie say this makes her feel better?

(That is from Macbeth. He is said to be another of my unlikely ancestors, and actually did hold court on my family's estate from time to time. He was not, by all contemporary accounts, the treacherous bastard Shakespeare makes him out to be. Will history remember me for my MBE, my British Empire honor for "chivalry," or for my cooperation with the Gestapo? I don't want to think about it. I expect they can take the MBE away if you stop being chivalrous.) (1.10.XI.43.27)

Julie leaves these little breadcrumbs for us throughout her narrative, telling us she's not quite the traitor she's making herself out to be, either. Macbeth is a play by Shakespeare, but the title character is based on an actual historic person—and Julie tells us that the story and the truth of the matter are different, much like her own case.

We made a deal. Another one. Truly I thought I couldn't possibly have anything left of my soul to sell to him, but we have managed to strike another bargain. (1.17.XI.43.8)

Julie makes a lot of deals with von Linden. What are both of them trying to get out of these deals? Does either ever get what he or she is looking for?

It is comforting to discover that I am not, after all, the only Judas to have been interned behind these desecrated hotel walls. I suppose von Linden would be sacked if his success rate were that dismal. (1.17.XI.43.14)

Here Julie is translating and recording other prisoners' records and discovers others have given up information before her. Given the truth of what she's doing—not giving the Gestapo one thing—we can't help but wonder what she actually thinks about this.

BUCKETS OF BLOOD, WHEN DO I GET TO FINISH MY GREAT DISSERTATION OF TREASON? (1.20.XI.43.1)

All caps still indicates SHOUTING, even in 1943. Looks like someone really wants to finish her thoughts on treason…

The man I interviewed that night didn't believe in me. He accused me of treachery. Treason against the Fatherland—what was I doing working for the enemy, the English? He called me a collaborator, a backstabber, a filthy English whore. (1.22.XI.43.146)

Julie recalls that this happened while she was interrogating prisoners as Eva Seiler. It seems like no matter what she's doing or where she's doing it, someone always thinks she's a traitor to her country, even thought she actually never is. Seems like a tough role to play.

Now the whole Damask circuit is on edge, afraid that Julie's capture will betray them.

I mean, that Julie will betray them herself. By giving them away under pressure. The longer the silence the more certain it is that she's been caught. (2.4.2-3)

Maddie's talking now. Everyone's afraid Julie will betray them, but she never does, which we know because we've already read her whole "confession." It's not ever clear that Julie has the information she would need to betray the Damask circuit, anyway.

I think I probably wouldn't have cared if the old woman who lived there had turned me over to the police. ISN'T THAT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU KILL YOUR BEST FRIEND? (2.18.36)

Maddie feels she has betrayed Julie by killing her, so she longs to be betrayed in turn. She seeks some sort of judgment or punishment for the rest of the book, though everyone who finds out what happens thinks she did the right thing.

If they hang me they will do it cleanly, break my neck instantly, and I will deserve it. They won't make me betray anyone. They won't make me watch it happening to anyone else. They won't incinerate my body and turn it into soap. They'll make sure Grandad knows what happened. (2.25.5)

Maddie envisions execution for Julie's murder as a clean sort of death, cleaner than anything the Gestapo offers, anyway. It won't involve hurting anyone else, which seems to be what Maddie sees as the definition of betrayal.