In the Penal Colony
In the Penal Colony
by Franz Kafka
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Character Role Analysis

The Officer and the Explorer

The officer and the explorer have super different worldviews, and the officer's at once revolts the explorer and wins his admiration. The officer's worldview comes across as barbaric, cruel, and out-dated, the explorer's as modern, enlightened, gentle, and all that good stuff. The officer is a very passionate about his convictions and can't control himself very well, whereas the explorer, though he certainly has strong principles, seems the unemotional type. If you like, the officer and the explorer could represent some great contrast of capital-letter abstract nouns, like "Tradition and Modernity" or "Religion and Secular Humanism."

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