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The officer in story In the Penal Colony - Essay Example

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Franz Kafka portrays the officer in a sympathetic manner. Even though the officer appears to be standing for an absurd practice, readers ultimately feel sympathy towards him. …
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The officer in story In the Penal Colony
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"The officer in story In the Penal Colony"

Download file to see previous pages He moves in ways that are familiar to him. What he has done in the past matters much to him. He is found to be extremely loyal to his cultural tradition. Historic practices are of great value to him. His commitment towards the machine shows his mindset. He is found to be much dedicated to the general way of punishment. He is very much loyal to the traditions and the historic way of doing things. What he is aware of is nothing but the cultural traditions of his place. His thoughts and actions are based on the “current individual” factor. This very factor drives his attitude. The officer is the product of his circumstances. The author Franz Kafka places the officer in a situation that justifies his strange attitude. In the story we find that the officer is compelled to convince the explorer about the relevance and necessity of the machine. The presence of the explorer created an atmosphere of urgency in the colony. This urgency is visible in the words and actions of the officer. The officer feels that unless he convinces the explorer, the machine and the punishment system will be put to an end. He therefore explains the positive aspects of the machine. We find that the officer fails to convince the explorer about the importance of the machine. The officer’s mood changes because of the explorer’s attitude. Current situation again starts dominating the officer’s behavior. This gave him the motivation to free the condemned man and place himself in his place. The situation made the officer resort to such an action. The officer understands that his mission is no longer successful. The system which he believed and followed all these years is going to be abolished in the colony. He therefore decided to subject himself to the machine. His act means that he willingly became a martyr for the machine. He represented his mistake and accepted the punishment for that. This is evident in the inscription ‘Be just’. This very behavior of the officer is caused by his situation and brought up. The officer has immense enthusiasm about the machine he created. The so called ‘justice’ of the old commandant made him crazy. The officer blindly follows the old Commandant. He is overenthusiastic over the system he formed. The machine embodies the system he created. The apparatus symbolizes the notion of justice. The officer is fully devoted to the system of the old Commandant. He is crazy to be the judge of the colony. He is of the belief that by executing people using the machine he is establishing justice. ‘Guilt is never to be doubted’ is the motto of the officer. The machine puts immense torture on the body of the punished individual. The officer’s satisfaction lies on the idea that injustice is rightly punished. He feels that the punishment establishes transfiguration and enlightenment. This very notion makes him subject himself to the machine. He wants to personally experience the feeling. We read that “But how quiet he grows at the sixth hour! Enlightenment comes to the most dull witted. It begins around the eyes. From there it radiates. A moment that might tempt one to get under the Harrow oneself! Nothing more happens than that the man begins to understand the inscription; he purses his mouth as if he were listening. You have seen how difficult it is to decipher the script with one’s eyes, but our man deciphers it with his wounds…” (Kafka 1995). The officer further believes that the individuals who are ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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