One of the four characters in "In the Penal Colony," a prisoner, is depicted as more animal than human being. At once wild and submissive, fiercely violent and stupid, he has been sentenced to death for threatening to eat a superior. Although we see little of the colony's other inhabitants, the condemned man's example seems to suggest that many of them are beastly and brutal. What is the connection between the animal-ness of the inhabitants of the penal colony and the gruesome justice system used to keep them in check?
The condemned man is not the only primitive or barbaric character in the story. He is instead simply one product of a system of control that is itself primitive and brutal, turning people into submissive animals.