Waiting for the Barbarians

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Warrant Officer Mandel Character Analysis

A warrant officer for the Empire, Mandel is sent to replace the magistrate’s position after the magistrate has been charged with treason (consorting with the barbarians). The magistrate describes Mandel as highly affected and self-conscious, and as putting great effort into expressing his authority in order to mask his more boyish and delicate sensibilities. Believing Mandel to hail from people of low social class, the magistrate thinks he’s adopted such heady airs in order to cover up any traces of his less-than-regal upbringing. Mandel presides over the magistrate’s imprisonment while Colonel Joll is at the front, and eventually releases him, finding the cost of imprisoning the magistrate to be no longer a justifiable expenditure.
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Warrant Officer Mandel Character Timeline in Waiting for the Barbarians

The timeline below shows where the character Warrant Officer Mandel appears in Waiting for the Barbarians. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
The Empire and Fear of the Other Theme Icon
Truth, Power, and Recorded Reputation Theme Icon
Independence, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
The fourth chapter begins as the magistrate describes a man (Officer Mandel) sitting at his desk in the office behind the courtroom—a man donning one of the... (full context)
Torture, Inhumanity, and Civility Theme Icon
Truth, Power, and Recorded Reputation Theme Icon
History and Time Theme Icon
Independence, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...narrative then shifts—he’s back in his office, which has been cleared of all his things. Mandel enters, and reads him the charges imputed to him by two of the men who... (full context)
The Empire and Fear of the Other Theme Icon
Torture, Inhumanity, and Civility Theme Icon
Truth, Power, and Recorded Reputation Theme Icon
Independence, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...then describes a scene in his old office. Joll sits behind his desk, and Officer Mandel—though the magistrate still does not yet know his name—stands by with a notepad. Joll asks... (full context)
The Empire and Fear of the Other Theme Icon
Truth, Power, and Recorded Reputation Theme Icon
History and Time Theme Icon
Independence, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...“One Just Man”—to the detriment of the Empire’s cause. Joll ends the interview and tells Mandel that the magistrate is now his responsibility. (full context)
Torture, Inhumanity, and Civility Theme Icon
Independence, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...of water,” since he’s had nothing to drink for two days. He mentions that Officer Mandel and his assistant force-fed him pints of salt water down a pipe pushed down his... (full context)
Torture, Inhumanity, and Civility Theme Icon
Independence, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...magistrate then mentions a scene in the prison yard—he’s naked, an audience is gathered, and Mandel demands that he run, hitting the magistrate’s rear end with a cane whenever he slows... (full context)
Torture, Inhumanity, and Civility Theme Icon
Independence, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
The magistrate says that, one day, Mandel and his assistant throw open his cell door and hand him a woman’s calico smock,... (full context)
The Empire and Fear of the Other Theme Icon
Torture, Inhumanity, and Civility Theme Icon
Truth, Power, and Recorded Reputation Theme Icon
Independence, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...and he stretches out upon the ground. But he’s abruptly pulled to his feet, and Mandel tells him that he is going to show him “another form of flying.” He takes... (full context)
Chapter 5
The Empire and Fear of the Other Theme Icon
Truth, Power, and Recorded Reputation Theme Icon
...The soldiers will go into shops and take what they want without paying. And, while Mandel promises to take charge of and enforce order among his soldiers (since he’s in charge... (full context)
Torture, Inhumanity, and Civility Theme Icon
Truth, Power, and Recorded Reputation Theme Icon
Independence, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
One day, the magistrate says, Mandel approaches him in the yard and says that the expenditures to keep him as a... (full context)
The Empire and Fear of the Other Theme Icon
Torture, Inhumanity, and Civility Theme Icon
Truth, Power, and Recorded Reputation Theme Icon
Independence, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...turned into a march that ended up setting a house on fire. He concludes that Mandel has utterly lost control of the garrison—he was nowhere in sight during the march. (full context)
The Empire and Fear of the Other Theme Icon
Independence, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...by watching this evidently long-planned manoeuvre of withdrawal,” and he asks to meet with Officer Mandel to interview him about what’s going on, but the guard on watch at the courthouse... (full context)
The Empire and Fear of the Other Theme Icon
Truth, Power, and Recorded Reputation Theme Icon
Independence, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Returning from the courthouse to the town square, the magistrate finds Mandel reading a statement announcing the “temporary” withdrawal of the majority of soldiers stationed at the... (full context)
The Empire and Fear of the Other Theme Icon
Torture, Inhumanity, and Civility Theme Icon
Independence, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
The magistrate notes that, as Mandel speaks, his men are clearly stocking their carriages with the fruits of their looting. While... (full context)
Chapter 6
The Empire and Fear of the Other Theme Icon
History and Time Theme Icon
That magistrate has once again taken the lead of the garrison. Mandel has only left the settlement with three soldiers, and so—in order to create the illusion... (full context)
Torture, Inhumanity, and Civility Theme Icon
Truth, Power, and Recorded Reputation Theme Icon
Independence, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...magistrate awakes to a pounding at his door: a soldier asks him where the warrant officer—Mandel—is. But Mandel is no longer here, and the warrant officer relays this to Joll. The... (full context)