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A Study of the Themes of Friendship And Betrayal in Iain Bank’s “Complicity”

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A Study of the Themes of Friendship Duncan MacInnes And Betrayal in Iain Bank's "Complicity" In this essay I will analyse the themes of friendship and betrayal in the book, explaining the ways they change the reader's perceptions of the characters. I will also look at how they influence the decisions made by the main characters. When I follow the theme of friendship, I will do it through the relationships between the three main characters, Cameron, Andy and McDunn. I will show the themes are present in the various ways and times that these characters double cross each other. "Complicity" is a story about an amoral journalist, Cameron, who is on the tail of a huge story. He has a mole who is informing him about his article. At the same time the police are investigating a series of murders for which Cameron has no alibi, but a possible link to the crimes. Because of this he was accused of the killings. He sets about finding out the identity of the real killer. Who turns out to be his trusted childhood friend, Andy. A chase ensues and Andy captures Cameron and their friendship decided the outcome. When left with an ultimatum of "hand me over or turn me loose" Cameron could not betray his friend. The structure of the book is very important to the understanding of the various themes and the author has an interesting way of breaking up the story. ...read more.


This incident which goes beyond friendship led me to consider their innocence - how easily the boys got the boundaries confused and the naivity with which they entered into these actions. This shows Andy's betrayal of Cameron by manipulating him in a sexual manner. This affects their friendship, but it seems to bring them closer together. An example of their innocence was shown when, just before the groping incident Cameron asks "Have you got hair on yours then?" talking about Andy's genitalia. Then afterwards when they are going home the boys meet a man. This man then hits and rapes Andy. Cameron starts to run in fear for his own safety. Whilst running away he realises that he could never forgive himself for betraying his friend twice. He turns back and picking up a branch hits the man, who dies. The boys decided that no-one needed to know about any of that days goings on. This shows the strength of their early friendship as they could keep a secret, contrasting with how it later falls apart. This secret was kept as a symbol of their friendship until Cameron was arrested. When he realised it was Andy who had set him up he told the police: breaking the ultimate bond of their friendship. " Perhaps this act of treachery would buy my freedom from the burden of buried horror that bound me to Andy for 20 years" This shows the disintegration of their friendship, because of the betrayal by telling the police. ...read more.


McDunn shows the characteristics of a good friend towards Cameron providing support for him when he breaks down, giving him cigarettes and trusting him when no-one else will give him the time of day. It is difficult though to tell if McDunn did this because he genuinely felt for Cameron or because he thought it would speed up the process of finding the guilty party and was betraying Cameron's trust. " I look at McDunn, The one friendly face in here." This shows that McDunn likes and trusts him. Cameron needs this support to prove his innocence. This relates back to the title of the essay because it shows an interesting twist in the development of the themes of friendship and betrayal. It also shows that the friendship McDunn offers Cameron could be false. He could be pretending so that he may gain information for his case. This when considered by the reader forces them to come to a conclusion as to whether McDunn has good intentions or not. When Iain Bank's created the story and characters I think he did it to make a point about the modern world He shows by the actions of the characters that he despises the idea of the ostentatious Thactcherite eighties. Their avaricious actions make the reader dislike them and so make Bank's point. The book is a well crafted story but is also used as a vessel for Iain Bank's political statements and it is because of this that it is immensely enjoyable. Word Count = 1,780 ...read more.

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