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This paper examines the seven-month period between January and July 1807 that Heinrich von Kleist spent in French confinement on charges of espionage, and the Trauerspiel Penthesilea he wrote during that time. There exists no satisfactory account of the reasons for Kleist's travels at this inopportune moment (a Prussian officer on leave travelling to French-occupied Berlin!) and it remains unknown whether the French charges had any factual grounds. In his correspondence Kleist claims his innocence and denies any such accusations. But whether guilty or not he is taken prisoner, and for an indefinite amount of time. No international legislation protected captured spies at the time, and Kleist's suspension in this legal threshold without end date and in the absence of any legal defense is used in this paper to elucidate the letters he wrote from prison and the powerful and mysterious play he finished writing during this period. It is to these works, written from a place of imposed legal silence, that the paper refers as “spy writing.”