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In the Penal Colony

In the Penal Colony


by Franz Kafka

The Condemned Man Timeline and Summary

  • The condemned man is introduced as "stupid-looking" and dog-like. He's in chains and awaiting execution.
  • The condemned man observes the officer's descriptions of the apparatus to the explorer, trying to follow them even though he does not understand the language.
  • We learn from the officer that the condemned man has been sentenced to death for neglecting his duty to knock on his captain's door, and then threatening to eat him.
  • In his eagerness to look at the apparatus, the condemned man gets too close and is forcibly restrained by the soldier.
  • At an order from the officer, who has finished with his explanations, the condemned man's clothes are cut off, leaving him naked. He's put into the apparatus.
  • When the gag is put in the condemned man's mouth, he vomits all over the apparatus.
  • The condemned man is set free by the officer after the officer's failed appeal with the explorer. The condemned man is very happy.
  • Eager for revenge, the condemned man watches the officer as he gets into the apparatus and turns it on, but is shooed away by the explorer. He begs to stay.
  • The condemned man gets fascinated by the cog wheels of the machine as it falls apart.
  • After the officer's demise, the condemned man goes with the soldier and the explorer to the teahouse, where the explorer sees the commandant's grave.
  • The condemned man and the soldier, after being help up a little while at the teahouse, try to go with the explorer, but he wards them off.