Essay Comparing Waiting For The Barbarians And Akhenaten

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Truth is a common theme that is present in both the novels Waiting for the Barbarians and Akhenaten. I believe truth is the most prevalent theme in each book and each protagonist’s journey to truth is the central plot in each novel. In Waiting for the Barbarians, the Magistrate is trying to find the truth about the barbarian girl and the torture that had been inflicted on her. In Akhenaten, Akhenaten is trying to find the truth about the universe and spiritual things. I argue that in both novels, the authors are using the protagonist’s journeys to truth as a way to show resistance to empire, but in Waiting for the Barbarians, it is the realization truth that leads the protagonist resists the empire, and in Akhenaten, it is in the protagonists’ resistance to the empire that he finds truth. The magistrate began as a law-abiding citizen, and a well respected one at that. When Colonel Joll first arrives, the magistrate attempts to persuade him not to go after the barbarians. The…show more content…
While Colonel Joll is inflicting punishment on those who don’t give information about the barbarians, the citizens become fearful of an attack by the barbarians. This leads to the pointing of hands, specifically to the Magistrate. Coetzee uses Colonel Joll in Waiting for the Barbarians to represent the head of the empire. It is Joll’s violent quest for truth from townspeople, specifically the barbarian girl, which initiates the Magistrate’s journey to truth and desire to resist the empire. “[After the Magistrate] discovers his fear is justified, and thereafter, he is obsessed by the brutality of the Empire and the effects of torture, not only on the victims, but also on the torturers and on those who live in a society that allows torture” (Franklin 4). This quote shows how the magistrate was not at first attempting to resist the empire, but was led to once he found out the

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