At the beginning of the story the Anarchist is described repeatedly as "pale-faced," and also as "haggard," which suggests illness, tiredness or lifelessness. Only when he speaks of the deadly potential of the bacteria does he become animated, with "a gleam of satisfaction,' or with eyes that, metaphorically, "devour ....
At the beginning of the story the Anarchist is described repeatedly as "pale-faced," and also as "haggard," which suggests illness, tiredness or lifelessness. Only when he speaks of the deadly potential of the bacteria does he become animated, with "a gleam of satisfaction,' or with eyes that, metaphorically, "devour . . . the little tube" of said bacteria.
Later in the story, when the Anarchist has in his possession the deadly bacteria, his mood is described as "a singular mixture of fear and exultation." The Anarchist is afraid that he will be caught but excited at the possibility of infecting the city's water supply with the bacteria. Anyone who is "exulted" with the possibility of mass murder is clearly psychopathic. At this point in the story the reader might begin to wonder what has happened to this man to make him so intent on, and so excited about killing so many people. And then the Anarchist begins to think about other Anarchists "whose fame he had envied." This line implies that the Anarchist's primary motivation is simply fame.
As he gets closer to fulfilling his plan, the Anarchist's thoughts reveal a lot about his character. He imagines that "The world should hear of him at last," and he seems bitter and resentful that he has "always (been) treated as a man of no importance." He is clearly suffering from paranoid delusions of frustrated grandeur, and believes that "All the world had been in a conspiracy to keep him under." The Anarchist sees himself as enacting revenge upon the world that has ignored and undermined him. He will teach the world a lesson that he thinks it deserves to learn, namely "what it is to isolate a man."
Toward the end of the story the tube of bacteria cracks and the contents spill onto the Anarchist. At this point he decides that "I shall be a martyr" and he swallows what remains of the bacteria. The implication here is that he still believes in the justice of his cause, and he believes that it is a noble and honorable thing for him to die for that cause. Faced with his imminent death the Anarchist becomes defiant and proud, with "something tragic" about him, and with "a certain dignity."
At the end of the story, however, this dignity, and in fact the whole character of the Anarchist, becomes ridiculous and pathetic when the Bacteriologist reveals that the bacteria is actually relatively harmless, and will simply turn the Anarchist a particular shade of blue. The reader is thus left with a sense of satisfaction that the murderous, self-conceited Anarchist will soon experience a rather humiliating anti-climax.