A village scrivener—or writer and handler of official and legal documents—who by a twist of fate is appointed judge in Nuka during the play’s second half. After unwittingly sheltering the Grand Duke in the days following the Princes’ coup, Azdak is so ashamed at having protected the reviled leader that he travels to Nuka, accompanied by his friend Shauwa, to turn himself in for treason. Once there, Azdak realizes that all the public officials have been killed, and the judge has been hanged. After squaring off against the Fat Prince’s nephew in a mock trial to determine who was better suited to be the judge, Azdak is appointed judge by the Ironshirts despite the Fat Prince’s nepotistic desire to appoint his own nephew. As a judge, Azdak becomes known throughout the country as an iconoclast who stands up for the poor. Although Azdak regularly accepts bribes from the rich, he rarely rules in favor of the wealthy, and often steps outside the bounds of law and precedent. In the trial between Grusha and Natella, Azdak accepts a bribe from Natella’s sycophantic lawyers, but still rules in favor of Grusha after she passes the test of the chalk circle. At the end of the play, Azdak invites all present at the trial to join him for drinking and dancing, but while the others lose themselves in revelry, Azdak stands alone and inert, “lost in thought.” Similarly, Azdak stands alone in the world of the play, a singular figure whose dedication to justice is, to many, difficult to understand or pin down. Azdak’s arc ties in most directly with themes of corruption and justice vs. injustice, though he is certainly an arbiter of chaos and chance as well.