In Michael Kohlhaas, Kleist brings two kinds of law, human and extra-human, into conflict with each other. Kohlhaas, denied the protection of the written law, is driven to rebellion. Simultaneously, he gains the aid of the laws of fate through the gypsy soothsayer, who is an agent of Nemesis, goddess of justice. Kohlhaas is associated with the animal figures in the work, the horses and the stag, in his virtual death at the hands of men and his return from the dead with the aid of supernatural law to wreak his inhuman vengeance on the Elector of Saxony. The latter is depicted as a pragmatist whose attempts to deal with Kohlhaas within the rational written law are doomed from the start. It is the basic tragedy of the work that the rational ruler and his passionate subject are drawn into mortal conflict with each other because each operates according to a different kind of law. This underlying conflict between human and extra-human justice accounts for the paradox and irony, as well as for the complex plotting, of the work. Kleist creates an ambiguous world in which all the figures, including the judges and the judged, are at once innocent and guilty.