The fact that two unguarded cauldrons of soup are seen by the prisoners as "a royal feast going to waste" is a harsh indication of the realities of camp life. While only one man makes the move to go for the soup, it was an extreme temptation for many, and Wiesel describes "hundreds of eyes" checking out the cauldrons.
For one man in Block 37, "fear was greater than hunger," and he rises to the challenge, crawling like a snake in the direction of the unguarded soup. The watching prisoners feel a blend of envy and fear for him as he heads for the cauldrons, and their emotions turn to jealousy as he reaches his target.
Unfortunately for the man, the endeavor does not end well. While lying on the ground right by the cauldron, he is overcome by either weakness or fear. When he eventually summons the strength to pull himself up, he catches a glimpse of his reflection in the soup and, for reasons that Wiesel cannot explain, he lets out "a terrible scream" which Wiesel also describes as a "death rattle." After this, he plunges his whole head into the soup, which must still be close to boiling in temperature.
Transfixed as they were by the sight of their comrade seemingly losing his will to live, they are startled by the sound of the shot that ends his life. After being shot, the man who had the courage to make his way to the soup falls back to ground, "[writhes for] a few seconds" and then succumbs to death.