This essay applies Giorgio Agamben's assertion, ＂bare life,＂ to investigate the narrative that constructs the Magistrate's identity in J. M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians. The story tells of the Magistrate's deed of sheltering a barbarian girl. He is thus deemed as a traitor to the Empire and is relegated from the imperial ruler on behalf of the Empire to the object of persecution. His union with the barbarian girl symbolizes a contradictory and yet complementary relationship formed after the two forces, barbarism and civilization, conflict and confront with each other. The Magistrate's condition may be regarded as that which is exclusively included in a state of exception at the edge of political order. Colonel Joel is the one who places an exclusion order on the Magistrate. The Magistrate is deprived of human rights because of the security threat he has brought to the Empire; yet, he belongs to the jurisdiction of the imperial sovereignty. If the empire is seen as ＂political order＂ and civilization brought by it as ＂law,＂ then the life form shown by the Magistrate can be treated as ＂bare life＂ and the state of exception in which this bare life settles thus turns out to be the residues of civilization. The bare life is excluded from the Empire and yet immobilized in its political order. Unable to return, it could only coexist with the political field. While the norms and practice of law in the state of exception are suspended or abandoned, it is the Empire that declares its strategies to consolidate its legitimacy. If the power of sovereignty and law, namely empire and civilization, is constructed on their capacity of determining the state of exception, then the barrack where the barbarians have been held and the ward in which the Magistrate is imprisoned can be seen as the structure of state of exception. While there is a field for the empire and civilization, such a state of exception, which detains the barbarians and the Magistrate, will be endlessly created. Under such a sovereign's commands, the bare life which emerges from a state of exception barely lives on in degradation. The story's ending tells that the Empire soldiers fail to destroy the barbarians and the Magistrate eventually leads the residents rebuild their homes. Such an arrangement not only highlights the Magistrate's concept of salvation, but also shows Coetzee's humanitarian concern toward the residues of civilization, which coincides with Agamben's expectations: to cut the bonding between life and law, to liberate life, so that life will not be trapped into any difficulties and threats that bare life is faced with.