The Unbearable Lightness of Being

by: Milan Kundera

Important Quotations Explained

"From tender youth we are told by father and teacher that betrayal is the most heinous offence imaginable. But what is betrayal?…Betrayal means breaking ranks and breaking off into the unknown. Sabina knew of nothing more magnificent than going off into the unknown."

Sabina characterizes a celebration of lightness, originality and individuality in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. She considers owing something to others and keeping promises as an unacceptable weight, and kitsch and non-genuine besides. She does not believe in nationalism or domesticity and refuses to play by societal rules. Betrayal to her means not allowing anyone or anything to have power over her, and therefore retaining her ability to live genuinely, creatively and beautifully.