A special Bonus inspired by recent events…The Treason, Coups and Other Assorted Villainy Quiz!



Click here to print with ANSWERS.

1) An 1898 reign of terror instigated by white supporters of the Democratic Party against African American residents of this Southern city is considered the only successful coup d’état in American history.  The violence led to at least sixty deaths and disenfranchised thousands, with no African American holding public office in the city until 1972.

2) Samuel Taylor Coleridge commented on this “fiendish” Shakespearean villain’s “motiveless malignity”, as the character hatches a plot for the downfall of his trusting commander.

3) In this 1985 novel, the U.S. Government has been replaced by the totalitarian Gilead.  As the author noted in a 2017 interview, discussing the book’s relevance in the Trump era, “Anything could happen anywhere, given the circumstances.”

4) A complex figure, whose legacy is debated some 500 years later, La Malinche (or Dona Marina) was sold into slavery by her own mother.  She became the concubine of this conquistador, serving a vital advisory role that enabled his takeover of her native empire.

5) The traditional stronghold of this rich and powerful fictional family is Casterly Rock.  The family’s prominent figures include incestuous siblings and a patricide.

6) A likely derivation of this infamous surname is from Ish Kerioth, a Greek rendering of a Hebrew phrase meaning “man from Kerioth”.

7) A monument in Westminster Abbey commemorates John André, hanged as a spy by the Continental Army in 1780, despite arousing tremendous sympathy among his captors.  As Alexander Hamilton wrote, “Never perhaps did any man suffer death with more justice, or deserve it less.”  André had been apprehended with maps of West Point, which revealed the treachery of whom?

8) The District of Columbia may want to avail itself of the services of the fictional Father Lankester Merrin, portrayed in a noted 1973 film by Max von Sydow.  What was Merrin’s professional specialty, reflected in the film’s title?

9) Painted in Leiden around 1629, “Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver” has been termed this Old Master’s first masterpiece.  The artist’s later, and more famous, Biblical paintings include “Bathsheba at Her Bath” and “The Return of the Prodigal Son”.

10) In one of her notebooks, Patricia Highsmith wrote of this character, “The psychopath is an average man living more clearly than the world permits him.”

11) In November 1970, this world-famous author tried to stage a coup, kidnapping the commander of an army base near Tokyo and exhorting the assembled garrison to reinstate the Emperor. After being jeered by the soldiers, the subject committed seppuku.

12) Regarding the anti-hero protagonist of this influential 1962 novel, the author stated “…it is better to be bad of one’s own free will than to be good through scientific brainwashing.”

13) At a December 1939 meeting, Vidkun Quisling urged Hitler to invade this country, his native land.  He subsequently served as head of a Nazi puppet regime, ensuring that his name became synonymous with “traitor”.  He was tried and executed after the war.

14) In a March 2019 op-ed, Maureen Dowd referred to a prominent legal advisor as “Renfield…gratefully eating insects and doing the fiend’s bidding.”  Provide the literary source of the character.

15) Among the Virginia militia in attendance at John Brown’s hanging was this Southern sympathizer.  Several years later, he would be the target of the largest manhunt in American history.

16) When the titular protagonist first meets this character, dubbed “the smarmiest creep in Dickens”, he observes the subject’s “cadaverous face” and “long, lank, skeleton hand”.

17) The subtitle of this modern novel begins The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death.  The work includes the following dictum, ascribed to a fictional author – “Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue.”

18) This 1995 thriller features the memorable line, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”  The film was a bit of a sleeper, but garnered screenwriting Oscar and BAFTA wins for Christopher McQuarrie.

19) His 2003 New York Times obituary noted that this murderous despot’s “flagrant brutality, coupled with his seemingly erratic behaviour and calculating insults, aroused disgust but also fascination far beyond” his country’s borders.  Among his outlandish statements was an offer to become king of Scotland and lead it to independence.

20) In 1973, this country’s president gave his final speech, decrying the coup that was soon to topple his government.  Addressing the military leaders of the coup, he stated, “May there be a moral punishment for those who have betrayed their oath.”  He died shortly afterward, as military jets bombed the capital’s La Moneda Palace.

21) As a result of his 2017 album Revival, this alliterative rapper was interviewed by the Secret Service.  The agency alleged that the album exhibited “inappropriate behavior”, perhaps inspired by lyrics such as – “Time to bury him, so tell him to prepare to be impeached.”  The matter was subsequently dropped, with no charges filed.

22) Name’s the same – a leading avian character from the world of Harry Potter and the surname of a London fireworks planner.

23) In this playwright’s Salome, the title character performs the Dance of the Seven Veils.  In return, she extracts satisfaction of her petulant wish, to be served the head of John the Baptist.

24) Give the surname of this married couple, the first American civilians executed for conspiracy to commit espionage.  Their 1951 trial was the subject of seven Supreme Court appeals and questions regarding its fairness persisted for decades.  Intelligence released after the collapse of the Soviet Union appears to demonstrate the couple’s role in providing vital information regarding the U.S. atomic program.

25) Name the principal leader of the failed 1923 coup d’état known as the Beer Hall Putsch.  The subject took advantage of the eight months that he subsequently spent in prison, writing an autobiographical manifesto in which he set out his political ideology.

26) This female character ranks prominently among Shakespeare’s villains.  In a famous sleepwalking scene, she says “What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?”.  A few lines later, she adds “What, will these hands ne’er be clean?”.

27) The songs of this musical visionary, who died in 2016, include “Avalanche”, “I’m Your Man” and “Suzanne”.  His “Traitor” includes the lyrics – “I could not move to warn all the younger soldiers/That they had been deserted from above”.  It concludes, “And people call me traitor to my face”.


And a closing thought…

The President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and, upon

conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office;

and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law.

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 69