The Man Without Qualities

by Robert Musil

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Why does Moosbrugger state that "it was no longer her fault" when speaking about the woman he murdered?

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Moosbrugger, a complicated character in Der Mann ohne Eigenshaften (The Man without Qualities), is on the surface just a villain, but in this novel--an examination of human personality, of the “qualities,” that is, the moral choices a person makes--he stands for the choice of acting on one’s impulses, of removing the thinking, weighing mental process from the decision-making process.  “This Moosbrugger is musical!” says (I think) Bonadea to Ulrich, as they follow his possible release from prison.  His "musicality" is his freedom from the traditional restraints of society.  The fact that this book is also a German pseudo-history, means that Moosbrugger also stands for the part of the Hapsburg Empire that ignored the pain and suffering of war.  His victim may have caused him to act, but she is not at fault in Moosbrugger’s estimation.

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