'Before The Law': Themes of Law and Justice Essay

'Before The Law': Themes of Law and Justice Essay

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Themes of law and justice are represented in numerous variations in Franz Kafka's The Trial . Most noteworthy are the themes and relations presented in Chapter 9 of the novel. Here, the reader experiences the parable "Vor dem Gesetzt" or "Before the Law." This parable represents a social construction present almost everywhere. Human beings seek out acceptance into various societal constructions and the law is no different. Humans, and specifically Joseph K, attempt to reach a state of understanding in different aspects of life and The Trial expresses the desire to understand and be accepted into the law. The parable acts a justifier for the themes of the book. Although after reading the novel, one could deduce that acceptance and understanding was a theme, the parable works to draw the reader towards this idea. There is a one-to-one relationship materialized when the parable and the story of Joseph K are separated into distinct sections. Each element of the parable "Before the Law" represents an element of Kafka's The Trial through which the story of Joseph K is told. By comparing the separate and distinct sections and explaining their relationships to aspects of the story, law and justice, even as skewed as it is portrayed in the novel, can be understood.
Before the themes of law and justice can be understood, the terms must be conceptualized in order to have a codified definition during the reading process. Law in this sense, not only represents or means the overarching authority through which society is governed, the codified set of rules and guidelines which govern society, but also must be understood as a form or distinct entity that can be understood and achieved. Without this understanding, the messages of the parable se...


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...g the law are coterminous and combined. A person either understands both or none at all, they do not exist separately. The novel cannot exist without the parable and the parable on its own does not represent the overall idea of the combination of the two. Humans seek out acceptance into various social constructs and the law is no different. Understanding the parable means that the reader understands this journey and recognizes where the characters went wrong in both stories. Each element of the parable "Before the Law" represents an element of Kafka's The Trial and both are necessary in understanding the overall message of the novel. One should not look at The Trial as a story for only or completely for entertainment Rather, it should be viewed as a social commentary on how the law, and the people it governs, functions and how to determine what is law and justice.

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