In the dialogue for section 3 of "The Interlopers" by Saki, what conclusions can you make about the men's characters (who they are) from the exchange of words?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The only text of "The Interlopers" by Saki that I could find that has sections of any kind in it is the one I attached in a link below, so my answer refers to the dialogue in section three of that text.

It begins right after Georg Znaeym and Ulrich von Gradwitz have been pinned to the ground by a tree during a storm. These two men are sworn enemies. Their families have been feuding for three generations, and things are even worse now because the two men have an intense personal hatred for one another, as well.

The feud might, perhaps, have died down or been compromised if the personal ill-will of the two men had not stood in the way; as boys they had thirsted for one another's blood, as men each prayed that misfortune might fall on the other....

Being trapped together mere feet apart is probably one of the worst things either man could ever have imagined happening to them.

The feud is over a "stupid strip of forest," the very land on which they have been trapped together. As we examine their conversation, we get a clear picture of who these two men are. Each of them is snarling, laughing savagely, mocking, and talking fiercely, according to the author, as they exchange bitter curses and insults with one another.

Georg mocks Ulrich for being trapped on what Ulrich and his family (as well as the courts) have claimed is their land; Ulrich affirms that this is his land and he is anxious for his hunters to come and kill Ulrich as a poacher.

Georg follows with a thinly veiled threat that if his men come first, they will "accidentally" kill Ulrich, and Georg adds an insult, saying he will of course send his condolences to his enemy's family. Ulrich thanks Georg for the idea and plans to do the same to Georg because he still thinks his men will arrive first. The final piece of dialogue in this section is Georg's acceptance of the idea that this feud will forever be settled tonight between the two of them and their hunters. 

We can make several conclusions about the characters of both men based on this conversational exchange. First, they are equal in their hatred and scorn for one another. Second, they truly do feel nothing but hatred for each other. Third, the long-running feud has not waned over time but is still white-hot in intensity. Fourth, they each seem perfectly serious about killing the other one (and that is why they are in this predicament, after all). Georg speaks for them both when he says:

We fight this quarrel out to the death, you and I and our foresters, with no cursed interlopers to come between us.

Finally, they are no longer fighting for the land but to win the feud. The two men did not bring their foresters with them tonight to kill animals but to kill one another. 

Given this short but hate-filled conversation, what happens in section four is quite shocking and almost a miracle. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial