The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

by

Milan Kundera

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Unbearable Lightness of Being can help.

The Tall Stranger Character Analysis

An engineer and a patron of the Prague bar where Tereza works. When the obnoxious man insults Tereza, the tall stranger stands up for her. He later asks her to go home with him, and while she initially declines, Tereza ultimately accepts and has sex with him. For Tereza, the tall stranger is a way for her to test Tomas’s theory that love and sex are completely unrelated. Tereza’s encounter with the tall stranger is a complete disaster, but she is left wanting to see him again just so she can see her own naked body in proximity to his. The tall stranger never returns to the bar after his sexual encounter with Tereza, and she is left thinking that he, too, is a member of the secret police and will accuse her of prostitution just like the obnoxious man. Like the young man, it is never confirmed if the tall stranger is with the secret police or not.
Get the entire The Unbearable Lightness of Being LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being PDF

The Tall Stranger Character Timeline in The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The timeline below shows where the character The Tall Stranger appears in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 4, Chapter 9
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
...has illegally served the young man alcohol and begins to yell at her. A tall stranger interjects and tells him to shut up. Tereza thanks the tall stranger for sticking up... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 10
Lightness, Weight, and Dichotomies  Theme Icon
A few days later, the tall stranger comes back to Tereza’s restaurant and begins to flirt with her. He tells her that... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 15
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
The tall stranger keeps inviting Tereza to his flat. She knows nothing about him except that he is... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 16
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
The tall stranger’s flat is a simple one-room efficiency with a curtain dividing it. He has little furniture,... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 17
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
The tall stranger begins to undress Tereza, but she refuses to help. Her soul disagrees with what her... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 18
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
Alone in the tall stranger’s bathroom, Tereza sits on the cold porcelain toilet. She feels the urge to empty her... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 19
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
Outside the bathroom, Tereza stands on the other side of the curtain. The tall stranger calls her from behind the curtain, and she feels the urge to cry. She wants... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 21
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
Sitting on the bathroom floor with the crow, Tereza thinks about the tall stranger. She asks herself if her visit to the tall stranger has taught her anything about... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 22
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
...anymore, but her soul had indeed been “blinded by love.” Tereza’s afternoon with the tall stranger has made her soul see again. Thinking about that day, she doesn’t think about the... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 23
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
Every day Tereza secretly wishes for the tall stranger to return to the bar, but he never does. One particular day, the obnoxious man... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 24
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
Tereza is suddenly convinced that the tall stranger was sent to trap and incriminate her. No engineer reads Sophocles, Tereza thinks to herself.... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 26
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
Tereza can not stop thinking that the tall stranger is part of the secret police. When Tereza first arrived at his flat and found... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 28
Sex, Love, and Duality of Body and Soul Theme Icon
Driving back to Prague, Tereza wonders if any photographs exist of her with the tall stranger. Maybe the secret police will show them to Tomas, she thinks to herself. Tomas probably... (full context)