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A Hunger Artist

Franz Kafka

Character List

Plot Overview

Analysis of Major Characters

The Hunger Artist -  The miserable protagonist of the story. Dressed in black tights, the hunger artist is emaciated. Everything about his demeanor cries of desperation and tragedy. He sequesters himself in a cage, preferring to sit on the straw-lined floor rather than on a chair. Although he craves public attention and is delighted to display himself to wide-eyed spectators, he is often frustrated with the interactions he has with others. While in his cage, the hunger artist withdraws into himself, seemingly in a trance. He thinks of little more than the art of fasting and his desire to be the greatest faster of all time.

Read an in-depth analysis of The Hunger Artist.

The Impresario -  The hunger artist’s manager. Until his partnership with the hunger artist ends, the impresario is wholly dedicated to the hunger artist’s career and devotes all his resources to his advancement. As a result of spending so much time with the hunger artist, the impresario likely knows him better than anyone else. All the same, they do not seem to be friends, given the pleasure that the impresario takes in taunting the hunger artist during his performances to increase the drama and excitement.

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The Overseer -  A circus manager who discovers the hunger artist dying in his cage. The overseer hears the hunger artist’s final words, but he clearly does not care whether he lives or dies. As soon as the hunger artist expires, the overseer callously orders that his body be taken away and replaces him with a panther.

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