The Dispossessed

Bedap Character Analysis

One of Shevek’s closest friends since childhood. From a young age, Bedap expresses a desire to learn more about Urras, and to understand what the planet is really like. After a brief period of being out of touch, Bedap and Shevek reunite as adults at the Northsetting Regional Institute of the Noble and Material Sciences. Shevek, frustrated with his studies, is depressed and vaguely suicidal at the time of his reunion with Bedap, which provides both of them comfort, and Shevek, knowing that Bedap is a homosexual and has always been attracted to him, consents to embark on a sexual relationship with Bedap. However, they soon find that neither strongly desires the other, and after a brief period of sharing a domicile, the two separate and go back to being platonic friends. The two remain close through the years, sharing a fascination with Ioti language and politics. They work together in the Syndicate of Initiative, and eventually, Bedap stands in solidarity with Shevek as the two propose reopening communication, travel, and exchange of ideas between Urras and Anarres, despite the controversy it unleashes and the backlash they face.

Bedap Quotes in The Dispossessed

The The Dispossessed quotes below are all either spoken by Bedap or refer to Bedap. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Freedom Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Collins edition of The Dispossessed published in 1974.
Chapter 2 Quotes

“I never thought before,” said Tirin, “of the fact that there are people sitting on a hill, up there, on Urras, looking at Anarres, at us, and saying, ‘Look, there’s the Moon.’ Our earth is their Moon; our Moon is their earth.”

“Where, then, is Truth?” declaimed Bedap, and yawned.

“In the hill one happens to be sitting on,” said Tirin.

Related Characters: Bedap (speaker), Tirin (speaker)
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:
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“We don’t leave Anarres, because we are Anarres. But are we kept here by force? What force—what laws, governments, police? None. Simply our own being, our nature as Odonians. It’s your nature to be Tirin, and my nature to be Shevek, and our common nature to be Odonians, responsible to one another. And that responsibility is our freedom. To avoid it would be to lose our freedom. Would you really like to live in a society where you had no responsibility and no freedom, no choice, only the false option of obedience to the law, or disobedience followed by punishment? Would you really want to go live in a prison?”

Related Characters: Shevek (speaker), Bedap, Tirin
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 6 Quotes

“We have no government, no laws. But as far as I can see, ideas were never controlled by laws and governments, even on Urras. You can’t crush ideas by suppressing them. You can only crush them by ignoring them. By refusing to think, refusing to change. And that’s precisely what our society is doing! Sabul uses you, and prevents you from publishing, from teaching, even from working. In other words, he has power over you. Where does he get it from? Not from vested authority, there isn’t any. He gets it from the innate cowardice of the human mind. Public opinion! That’s the power structure he’s part of, and knows how to use. The unadmitted, inadmissible government that rules Odonian society by stifling the individual mind… Government [is defined as] the legal use of power to maintain and extend power. Replace ‘legal’ with ‘customary,’ and you’ve got Sabul, and the Syndicate of Instruction, and the PDC.”

Related Characters: Bedap (speaker), Shevek, Sabul –
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 10 Quotes

“Neither of us chose [to surrender to Sabul’s authoritarianism]. We let Sabul choose for us. Our own, internalized Sabul—convention, moralism, fear of social ostracism, fear of being different, fear of being free! Well, never again. I learn slowly, but I learn.”

“What are you going to do?” asked Takver, a thrill of agreeable excitement in her voice.

“Go to Abbenay with you and start a printing syndicate. Print the Principles, uncut. And whatever else we like. Bedap’s [paper] that the PDC wouldn’t circulate. And Tirin’s play. I owe him that. He taught me what prisons are, and who builds them. Those who build walls are their own prisoners. I’m going to go fulfill my proper function in the social organism. I’m going to go unbuild walls.”

Related Characters: Shevek (speaker), Takver (speaker), Bedap, Sabul – , Tirin
Related Symbols: The Wall
Page Number: 332
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 12 Quotes

“What we’re after is to remind ourselves that we didn’t come to Anarres for safety, but for freedom. If we must all agree, all work together, we’re no better than a machine. If an individual can’t work in solidarity with his fellows, it’s his duty to work alone. His duty and his right. We have been denying people that right. We’ve been saying, more and more often, you must work with the others, you must accept the rule of the majority. But any rule is tyranny. The duty of the individual is to accept no rule, to be the initiator of his own acts. Only if he does so will the society live, and change, and adapt, and survive. We are not subjects of a State founded upon law, but members of a society founded upon revolution. Revolution is our obligation. We can’t stop here. We must go on. We must take the risks.”

Related Characters: Shevek (speaker), Rulag, Bedap
Page Number: 359
Explanation and Analysis:
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Bedap Character Timeline in The Dispossessed

The timeline below shows where the character Bedap appears in The Dispossessed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...communicated with the people on the planet Urras, and also conferred with his Anarresti friend Bedap and other members of their syndicate about the “plans and possibilities” for Shevek’s journey there.... (full context)
Chapter 2
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...up at Anarres and thinking of the planet as their moon. One of the boys, Bedap, asks what the Truth is, if both planets are each other’s moons. (full context)
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...life on Urras is like now, since there is no communication between the two worlds. Bedap interjects, saying that the PDC keeps in touch with Urrasti freighters, as the two planets... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
...no true Odonian would want to travel to Urras to go live in a prison. Bedap says that though Shevek has a point, Tirin is also right—it would be useful to... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...away, and thinks that his male friends his age are stuck in childhood. Tirin and Bedap’s lives revolve around copulation and self-centered egoizing, and so Shevek “welcome[s]” isolation. After a year... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...the night winds down, some couples sneak off to private rooms to copulate, while Shevek, Bedap, Tirin, and three girls sit together and talk about everything, from the nature of happiness... (full context)
Chapter 6
Freedom Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...Music Syndicate to read the posters for the upcoming decad, and there he runs into Bedap. The two embrace, overjoyed to see one another. Shevek is surprised by his own emotions,... (full context)
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...up and enjoying each other’s company. Eventually, they return to Shevek’s room at the Institute. Bedap looks through Shevek’s notebooks, and asks why Shevek’s notes are written in code. Shevek tells... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
Bedap tells Shevek that the problem is that Anarresti society is designed to stifle the individual... (full context)
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
Bedap tells Shevek that he has not shared any of his ideas because he does not... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The next evening, Shevek and Bedap meet up again, and have a conversation about whether or not they should partner together... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
...teach in mathematical physics but derives no joy from this either. Shevek spends time with Bedap and Bedap’s group of friends, finding their independent thought and eccentricities interesting. One of Bedap’s... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
Shevek accompanies Bedap and some of his friends on a hiking trip—three men and three women are on... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...in a park in Abbenay as the golden heat of the evening falls around them. Bedap asks for a glass of water, but there is none around—Abbenay is in the midst... (full context)
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The night before Shevek leaves, he and Takver and Bedap all have dinner together. Shevek toasts Sadik, the baby, saying that he is grateful she... (full context)
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...tells him to get in touch with his Syndicate as soon as possible—she worries that Bedap is right, and bureaucracy has crept up on them. Shevek, however, never receives her letter... (full context)
Chapter 10
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
...acting of free will when really they are just following the orders of the PDC. Bedap was right, Shevek says—social conscience has overwhelmed individual conscience to the point that Anarresti are... (full context)
Chapter 12
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
At a PDC meeting, Bedap introduces a project idea from the Syndicate of Initiative, who have—against the recommendation of several... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
One of Bedap’s opponents—a “cool, intelligent” woman named Rulag—asks how the Odonians even propose to get to Anarres.... (full context)
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
Bedap has wondered several times since the winter after the famine, when he and Shevek first... (full context)
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
Bedap tells Rulag that “like good Odonians, [the Benbili would] hitchhike on one of the freighters.”... (full context)
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
Bedap argues that sheltering the Urrasti will not make them believe that the experiment of Anarres... (full context)
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...past the wall of the Port of Anarres. Another member of the council shouts that Bedap and Shevek are traitors to their own planet. The councilmember warns the two of them... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
Bedap withdraws the topic, and he and Shevek leave the meeting. As they walk out of... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
Bedap and Takver talk over a drink of fruit juice, which is no longer being rationed.... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
Bedap warns Takver that his and Shevek’s Syndicate of Initiative had a difficult time at PDC... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
Shevek and Sadik come in. Sadik is ten years old now, and Bedap observes both her and Shevek, for the first time, through the lens of knowing that... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
...he will be allowed to publish his own work autonomously—"the walls are down,” she says. Bedap insists, though, that there are only more “walls behind the walls.” Shevek tells Bedap that... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
After dinner and some conversation in the common room of Shevek and Takver’s domicile, Bedap and Shevek take Sadik back to her dormitory. At the entrance, though, she stops, and... (full context)
Chapter 13
Freedom Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
...Takver will be at the Port when he lands. The last time he spoke with Bedap, he had asked Bedap to decide together with Takver whether it would be safe for... (full context)