All About KlausKlaus is the middle child in the Baudelaire family and has the distinction of being the only boy. His favorite thing in the word is reading, so we like him already:
The Baudelaire parents had an enormous library in their mansion, a room filled with thousands of books on nearly every subject. Being only twelve, Klaus of course had not read all of the books in the Baudelaire library, but he had read a great many of them and had retained a lot of the information from his readings. He knew how to tell an alligator from a crocodile. He knew who killed Julius Caesar. (1.4)
Klaus is an excellent researcher and extremely intelligent. He works with his older sister, Violet, to figure out ways out of the sticky situations the children find themselves in. To this end, he"s the one who finds the recipe for pasta puttanesca in Justice Strauss"s library, and he also figures out Count Olaf"s entire evil marriage scheme just by reading a book on nuptial law. Not too bad, kid.
The Brave Little Orphan
Klaus is probably the bravest of the three Baudelaire children. He"s often the first to throw out bold ideas or say aloud what all the children are thinking. But he also sometimes says things that turn out to later be somewhat inconvenient. For instance, when Count Olaf tells the children to go up to their beds, Klaus can"t help but correct him:
Klaus had been glaring at the floor, trying to hide how upset he was. But at this he could not remain silent. "You mean our bed!" he shouted. "You have only provided us with one bed!"
Members of the theater troupe stopped in their tracks at this outburst, and glanced from Klaus to Count Olaf to see what would happen next. Count Olaf raised his one eyebrow, and his eyes shone bright, but he spoke calmly.
"If you would like another bed," he said, "tomorrow you may go into town and purchase one."
"You know perfectly well we haven"t any money," Klaus said.
"Of course you do," Count Olaf said, and his voice began to get a little louder. "You are the inheritors of an enormous fortune."
"That money," Klaus said, remembering what Mr. Poe said, "is not to be used until Violet is of age." (4.40-45)
The poor boy. He"s obviously very daring and fearless to confront Count Olaf, but he ends up getting smacked for his trouble. Perhaps he doesn"t consider the long-term consequences of his actions? A similar thing happens when Klaus finds out what Count Olaf is up to during The Marvelous Marriage. Check it out:
"You"re going to marry my sister to gain control of the Baudelaire fortune! Or at least, that"s what you planned to do. But when I show this information to Mr. Poe, your play will not be performed, and you will go to jail!"
Count Olaf"s eyes grew very shiny, but he continued to smirk at Klaus. This was surprising. Klaus had guessed that once he announced what he knew, this dreadful man would have been very angry, even violent. After all, he"d had a furious outburst just because he"d wanted roast beef instead of puttanesca sauce. Surely he"d be even more enraged to have his plan discovered. But Count Olaf just sat there as calmly as if they were discussing the weather.
"I guess you"ve found me out," Olaf said simply. "I suppose you"re right: I"ll go to prison, and you and the other orphans will go free. Now, why don"t you run up to your room and wake your sisters? I"m sure they"ll want to know all about your grand victory over my evil ways." (8.17-19)
We get the feeling that Count Olaf would not have figured all that stuff out on his own. Did Klaus just hand Count Olaf a tailor-made evil plan? And why doesn"t he notice one of Count Olaf"s associates sneaking up to grab Sunny? No, we"re not blaming Klaus for what happens—after all, Count Olaf is the villain here—but it sure seems like Klaus might have helped him along in his wicked plans.
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Hey, we love you anyway, Klaus. And pobody"s nerfect.