The Traitor

Ask and answer questions about Leonard Cohen, his work, this forum and the websites!
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sturgess66
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Re: The Traitor

Postby sturgess66 » Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:12 am

Paz wrote:i was just wondering wether anyone knows the meaning behind The Traitor?
its such a beautiful song, but i just cant work it out!!
"vaigor1" uploaded this short clip on YouTube today, where Leonard speaks about the meaning -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVRDhVZzJqY
JoePar
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Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:12 pm

Re: The Traitor

Postby JoePar » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:34 am

The word lurking in the background of this song is "surrender". It is never spoken, but it is there. The "traitor" has forsaken a lover's surrender for the routine of sex. Passion has given way to expedience and technique. It's a kind of death for an artist, too. The artist, via his art, yearns for the analog of "la petite mort'" - the little death - that the lover experiences in orgasm. A lover or artist who just "goes through the motions" is a kind of traitor.
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prokrity
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Re: The Traitor

Postby prokrity » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:25 pm

To me, the song seemed like the story of a relationship and how the narrator struggles to deal with his conscious regarding the relationship. With time as the affection between the couple faded, the narrator was still playing the role of a perfect lover to please her partner and the judgemental society. But one day the dreamer inside him wins him over and decides not to fake it anymore, and as a result, the relationship goes in a downward spiral and the people label him as the traitor of their relationship. At the beginning of the relationship, all he wanted is to be true to his lover. But as he becomes older, he realizes it is himself to whom he should be true to.
yopietro
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Re: The Traitor

Postby yopietro » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:35 am

prokrity wrote:
Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:25 pm
But one day the dreamer inside him wins him over and decides not to fake it anymore, and as a result, the relationship goes in a downward spiral and the people label him as the traitor of their relationship.
I used to think that the "dreamers" were the protagonists of this song in their adversarial existential war against the "men of action." But it dawned on me that the singer is a traitor to the men of action. He has become a dreamer. The dreamer is the one who dreams but doesn't do. He lives comfortably in his safety zone and nourishes his heart with fantasy. The man of action is out in the world doing, actually fighting the fight. In the song, the men of action are falling back and the singer is needed. Their numbers are dwindling. But he has deserted them from above, and become a dreamer himself. Kept inside his bubble of security and fear. Unwilling to leave and hurt his lover and join the men of action out in the world. The ones who are really doing, and who are loving authentically and fully, not habitually nor out of idle duty...

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