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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.