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Word Count: 1,442
Kafka shows the nature of judgment through an explorers experience in his short story In the Penal Colony The explorer invited to witness the execution of a disobedient soldier is introduced to the machine that delivers death to the condemned man The officer in charge of the execution is a fervent admirer of the machine and as he enthusiastically explains how the machine functions in detail he attempts to convince the explorer to support the old way of practicing the death penalty However the explorer disagrees with the officer because he finds that The injustice of the procedure and the inhumanity of the execution were undeniable 151 Realizing his failure the officer releases the condemned man and decides to punish himself with the machine and both the officer and the machine perish in the end Using contradictions among the relationships between the explorer and officer officer and machine and the old and new colony Kafka argues that fair judgment cannot be accomplished by human power The explorer disapproves of the machine because its cruelty and distorted justice cannot be justified The officer endeavors to explain every detail and function of the machine trying to impress the explorer His enthusiasm and devotion do impress the explorer yet the explorer rather feels repulsed by the machine and the execution procedure Although the officer insists that the exquisite machine deserves an appreciation for its scientific and historical values in essence the punishment is inhumane and gruesome The machine kills its victim slowly and carefully by inscribing the sentence on his body For twelve hours the condemned man suffers under the Harrow that drills through his back until he dies Moreover he is never told about his conviction or his sentence at all The explorer is surprised and deeply troubled by the fact that the victim is completely defenseless When he attacks the officer for this unfairness the officer explains that he doesnt need to be informed because Guilt
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