Husband Harlequin Analysis

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Imagine living in a world where tardiness could kill you. Literally. That is so in Harlan Ellison’s satirical and whimsical short story “"Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Tictockman”.

The plot follows a Harlequin-dressed young man who attempts to make a change in a future where humanity has become obsessed with time-keeping and punctuality. He accomplishes this not with impassioned speeches nor terrorism, but rather, by playing pranks.

The story is set in a dystopian time-obsessed future where everyone conforms to time-keeping and being punctual. Everyone has a “cardioplate” fitted into them which could be turned off in the event their time runs out. Tardiness is a crime punishable by having the duration of one’s tardiness deducted from his or her lifespan. This is enforced by the “Master Timekeeper”, also known as “The Ticktockman”. He is the embodiment of the System, the system which controls everyone’s time. However, the Harlequin, Everett C. Marm, dresses in a clownish suit and carries out mischievous pranks around the city. This is
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The absurdity of the story is further satirized by detailing the events that criminalise tardiness, punishable by death. Also, the fact that ““Repent, Harlequin!” said the Ticktockman” was set in a utopia where everything works perfectly and everyone is on time is ironic. Underneath the façade of efficiency, order and punctuality, the irony is that the people were in fact living in a dystopia. This is characterised by the strict regimen that took away people’s freedom by extension of not being able to be tardy. Also, unlike conventional heroes who would probably rally people to their cause or attack the dictator directly, the Harlequin revolts by wasting people’s
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