Arsen Kazbeki (The Fat Prince)

Arsen Kazbeki (The Fat Prince)

Arsen Kazbeki is a brother to Georgi Abashwili. He can also be described as:

  • Hypocritical / Pretentious

He pretends to wish the Governor’s wife well on Easter Sunday, yet he has a plan to kill his husband. “Happy Easter, Natella Abashwili! What a day!” (p.15). he even lauds the Governor’s intentions of bringing down the slums to extend his garden as ‘good news’. (p.15) This is hypocritical of him since he and the other plans have plans to remove the Governor and the Grand Duke from power because of poor governance.

He pretends to be fair in the appointment of a new judge by conducting a mock interview of his nephew yet he intends to have him as judge. He tells him, “Don’t worry, my little fox. The job’s yours.” (p.71)

He talks of peace, yet he has brought violence and killings. He says, “My friends, we need peace, peace, peace in Grusinia!” (p.71)

  • Sadistic / Callous / Inhuman

He portrays inhumanity by decapitating the Governor and then hanging his head on the wall. His callous nature does not stop him from wanting to kill a child. He says, “It’s a pity they took the brat along though. I need him, urgently.” (p.28)

  • Crafty /Scheming / Cunning

He plans and executes the Governor’s death when nobody expects it – on Easter Sunday. He also schemes to have his nephew installed as Judge. He cleverly pretends to leave the decision to the Ironshirts, knowing very well that they will choose his cousin over Azdak. He says that the interview is, “a mere formality, my little fox…” (p.72)

  • Authoritarian /Dictatorial / Domineering

He orders the Ironshirts to pin the Governor’s head against the wall. He says, “Here! In the middle…That’s not the middle. Further to the right. That’s it.” (p.28)

During the mock trial, he dictates to the ‘judge’ (his nephew) on the sentence he should give out. He tells him, “Hang him! Hang him!” (p.74)

After the mock trial, he orders withdraw but the Ironshirts to go away instead, “You go away so that the right man can get the right chair.” (p.74)

  • Corrupt

The fat prince and the other princes lose the war because of their greed and corruption. Azdak says, “Embezzled funds, sent sick horses. During attack, drinking in whorehouse” (p.94)

He brings his nephew to be installed as judge so that he can be able to control the court through him. He tells him, “…we catch the Grand Duke. We won’t have to please this rabble anymore.” (p.71)

Role:

The Fat Prince plays a role in:

  • Plot Development – it is Prince Kazbeki who kills the Governor which sets off a series of events like Natella running tot the capital and leaving the baby behind. It is he who orders the capture of Michael that forces Grusha to run to the Northern Mountains and to get married in the process.

He also contributes to the appointment of Azdak as judge by giving the Ironshirts the opportunity to select the winner.

His capture and death also brings the Grand Duke back to power.

  • Character Development – he helps in the development of characters like Georgi Abashwili, Natella, Grusha, Ironshirts, Azdak and his nephew, Bizergan Kazbeki.
  • Theme Development – through the Fat Prince, themes such as violence, abuse of power, betrayal and competition/greed for power are developed.
  • Style Development – his character also contributes in styles such as: irony since it is ironic that in the end he also suffers the same fate as the Governor, figurative language when he says, “when it was raining yesterday, I thought to myself, gloomy holidays! But this morning, the sky was gay. I love a gay sky…” (p.15) and play within a play when he allows his nephew to take part in the interview to determine if he’s fit to be judge.

YOUR TASK:

  • Identify and illustrate the main character traits of the Grand Duke
  • What is the role of the Grand Duke in the text?

Next character: Natella Abashwili

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