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Slaughterhouse-Five

Characters

Roland Weary

Characters Roland Weary

Roland Weary is a deluded, violent soldier whom Billy Pilgrim meets and travels with after they survive the German attack at the Battle of the Bulge. Weary grudgingly saves Billy’s life several times, but does so less out of altruism and more out of his misguided belief that he is a war hero. Weary believes that his service in the war is one of “virtue and magnanimity,” and that he deserves honor and praise. Weary also sincerely believes that he “became close friends immediately” with the two scouts in their traveling group, and even nicknames their posse “The Three Musketeers.” In reality, the scouts “[twist] out from Weary’s loving arms” and leave Weary and Billy behind. Upon abandonment, Weary’s delusions of grandeur are shattered, and instead of recognizing the way he has grossly glorified his position in the war, Weary believes “it was entirely Billy’s fault” and proceeds to violently beat up Billy. In stark contrast to Billy, who remains numb and content to die, Weary idolizes his own action and heroism above all else.

While he originally prides himself on saving Billy during the war, Weary is ultimately responsible for Billy’s death. Before he dies from gangrene, Weary ensures that his friend, Paul Lazzaro, will revenge his life by killing Billy, which eventually happens many years in the future. Weary’s final act on earth is to call for an innocent man’s death, indicating that war has not changed him at all. Instead of dying as the noble war hero he imagined himself to be, Weary remains a deluded coward who resents anyone who comes between himself and his glorified fantasies of war.