How Much Land Does a Man Need?

by

Leo Tolstoy

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The Passing Merchant Character Analysis

An unnamed merchant implied to be the Devil in disguise. The passing merchant distracts Pakhom and prevents him from buying the bankrupt peasant’s land with his stories about “the far-off land of the Bashkirs’.” According to the merchant, thousands of acres of land can be purchased from the Bashkirs’ for much less than the bankrupt peasant’s land. Just like the traveling peasant, the passing merchant transforms into the Devil in Pakhom’s dream, suggesting he initially appeared only to further tempt Pakhom and fuel his greedy behavior.

The Passing Merchant Quotes in How Much Land Does a Man Need?

The How Much Land Does a Man Need? quotes below are all either spoken by The Passing Merchant or refer to The Passing Merchant. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Corrupting Nature of Greed Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of How Much Land Does a Man Need? published in 1994.
Chapter 7 Quotes

And then Pakhom saw that it wasn't the peasant, but the Devil himself, with horns and hoofs, sitting there laughing his head off, while before him lay a barefoot man wearing only shirt and trousers. When Pakhom took a closer look he saw that the man was dead and that it was himself.

Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Passing Merchant Character Timeline in How Much Land Does a Man Need?

The timeline below shows where the character The Passing Merchant appears in How Much Land Does a Man Need?. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
The Corrupting Nature of Greed Theme Icon
God, the Devil, and Free Will Theme Icon
...to sell Pakhom thirteen hundred acres of land for a fair price. However, a passing merchant suddenly appears looking for a place to water his horses. (full context)
The Corrupting Nature of Greed Theme Icon
Class and Society Theme Icon
The merchant tells Pakhom that he has just returned from the far-away land of the Bashkirs, where... (full context)
Chapter 7
Class and Society Theme Icon
...closer inspection, Pakhom realizes that it is not the elder at all, but the passing merchant who had told him about the Bashkir land. Suddenly, the merchant turns into the traveling... (full context)