Penal Colony Essay, Research Paper
In The Penal Colony
By Franz Kafka
The complication of the human brain goes beyond the need to keep traditions. We live in a world of transitions, based on moralistic facts and materialistic predominance. The evolution of man is no longer the overcoming of itself, but the universal answer to its own meaning. Can we control ourselves? Or it is just a whim to be someone. “To know oneself, one should assert oneself. Psychology is action, not thinking about oneself. We continue to shape our personality all our life. If we knew ourselves perfectly, we should die.”(Albert Camus)
The officer, a peculiar character In the Penal Colony, surpasses the meaning of the medieval way of reasoning. As I penetrated into the reading of Franz Kafka, I realized that the officer is not really he, but a true vivid portrait of the past, the old commandant. The way he tries to transcend his culture and himself lies under different layers of misery; the apparatus. “The bite of conscience, like the bite of a dog into a stone, is a stupidity.” (Nietzsche)
Turning away for a moment the apparatus plays an important role to the development of the story. The officer the husband, the apparatus the wife, a true symbol of dependency; a marriage. The officer obsessed with the apparatus and its functioning creates a sense of love to the savage impulses of the uneducated man. The Neanderthal atmosphere is felt by the need of blood to create justice and order. “Demons do not exist any more than gods do, being only the products of the psychic activity of man.”(Sigmund Freud)
As an old phrase says, ” A captain must sink with his ship…” is the resemblance of the officer. A higher authority no longer sustained his power, and his desperation to continue started to take over his actions. Begging to the explorer was in vane, demonstrating the apparatus was useless, so the fruit started to rot. He got into the apparatus, and waited for the moment of his extermination to come. The evil machine started its killing process. It started out wrong, disintegrating both individuals (apparatus and the officer). The collapse of a personal empire was being witness by the explorer, the condemned man and the soldier. “To those who despair of everything reason cannot provide a faith, but only passion, and in this case it must be the same passion that lay at the root of the despair, namely humiliation and hatred.” (Camus) Evolution eventually had to come, a new era of justice flourished into the colony. It just comes and goes, doesn’t it?