Franz Kafka's The Trial Essays

Franz Kafka's The Trial Essays

Length: 2289 words (6.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

An enigmatic storyteller, Franz Kafka's legacy has long remained the subject of many writings on existential literature. His stories explore themes which are so depressing, and at times seem so futile, as to put off many a reader while entrancing yet another. The most popular of his works, The Trial is no less perplexing than its brethren, and a perfunctory examination leaves the reader distinctly unsatisfied. After all, what is the point of reading a two hundred odd page book about a man on trial if you never find out what he did, or if he's even guilty? It's tempting to suggest that, being an existential piece of literature, the point is that there is no point. However, Kafka's work is so multi-faceted as to provide many other possible interpretations - a myriad of which are of much greater value than such a simplistic analysis. One of the more interesting angles to consider The Trial from consists of recognizing the story as one of Josef's troubled self-identity, and the characters in it as representative of a mental struggle with uncertainty and guilt. Examined in this light, the story ceases to feel so monotonous and dull, and the ending is ultimately less jarring and unexpected.
The first question that comes to mind while reading The Trial is, understandably, who accused Joseph, and of what? After all, the opening words of the story set the tone with the assertion, "Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested." Yet, these words can be interpreted in a somewhat different way than assuming someone simply accused Josef of something he never did. For, on a deeper level, it doesn't matter who accused Josef - and for all anyone will ever know, Josef may have ...

... middle of paper ...

...between a notion of good and evil," and "deprived of all metaphysical guidelines...[but] nevertheless obligated to act morally in a world where death renders everything meaningless." A distinctly unenviable position, it seems that, in the end, what troubles Josef most is the guilt of uncertainty.

Czermak, Herberth CliffsNotes on The Metamorphosis and Other Stories. 17 Feb 2014
Kafka, Franz, and Breon Mitchell. The trial: a new translation, based on the restored text. New York: Schocken Books, 1998.
Reis de Oliveira, Irismar. "Kafka’s trial dilemma: Proposal of a practical solution to Joseph K.™s unknown accusation." Medical Hypotheses 77, no. 1 (2012): 5-6. (accessed February 15, 2014).

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Franz Kafka's The Trial Essays

- ... It starts out small because people don’t know what is going on or what the performance may be, but it slowly grows to become a bigger audience as the curiosity of the situation gets the best of them. As the idea of an audience appears and you begin to focus on that theme, it is not long before more references to theatre begin to stand out. For instance, as the situation of Josef K and his confusion with his arrest start to unfold, he takes the whole situation as a joke saying, “Who do you think you are....   [tags: book analysis]

Term Papers
1518 words (4.3 pages)

Franz Kafka's The Trial Essays

- ... Gleefully, Josef proclaims he is nothing of the kind, but the chief financial officer of a bank, and proceeds to make a lengthy speech about how badly the entire trial was being run, how incompetent the legal system is, and how absurd the entire ordeal is because he is mostly certainly not guilty. Somewhat ironically, at no point does he ask the judge what he's been accused of, so certain is he of his complete innocence in all matters. Once Josef's speech ends, the judge makes a rather interesting response, saying, "I just want to draw your attention to the fact...that you have today deprived yourself - although you can't yet have realized it - of the advantage that an interrogation off...   [tags: joseph, accusation, book analysis]

Term Papers
2289 words (6.5 pages)

The Role Guilt Plays in Franz Kafka's The Trial Essay

- What is guilt. Is Josef K. guilty. What is he guilty of. All of these questions come to mind when you read The Trial by Franz Kafka, but they are not easily answered. The question of guilt is a theme that runs through the entire novel, and it serves to enlighten the reader as to what, I believe, Kafka is trying to say. So what is Kafka trying to say. If one looks at the opening sentence, in the light of the rest of the novel, I believe that it helps to clue us into Kafka's message. The fact that K....   [tags: European Literature Franz Kafka]

Term Papers
1526 words (4.4 pages)

Essay Confronting Guilt In Franz Kafka’s The Trial

- In Franz Kafka’s The Trial, Josef K. is guilty; his crime is that he does not accept his own humanity. This crime is not obvious throughout the novel, but rather becomes gradually and implicitly apparent to the reader. Again and again, despite his own doubts and various shortcomings, K. denies his guilt, which is, in essence, to deny his very humanity. It is for this crime that the Law seeks him, for if he would only accept the guilt inherent in being human (and, by so doing, his humanity itself), both he and the Law could move on....   [tags: Kafka Trial Analysis ]

Term Papers
1287 words (3.7 pages)

The Trial by Franz Kafka Essay

- ... Yet the officials easily pull right back because they are the ones who have the true power. This power struggle continues throughout the story although near the end Joseph K does eventually succumb to the power and accepts his fate in chapter nine. In the very last chapter, K is presented with yet another power struggle. Two men who showed up at his residence unexpectedly take him away. K acts as if he was expecting them and says, “You’ve come for me then, have you?” (Kafka, 265). The men walk with him a ways, until K refused to continue on....   [tags: law of morality, Joseph K]

Term Papers
1487 words (4.2 pages)

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

- 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....   [tags: Franz Kafka's The Trial]

Term Papers
1910 words (5.5 pages)

Totaltitarian Germany and The Trial by Franz Kafka Essay

- During Europe’s period of economic advancement, industrialization, and militia power Franz Kafka crafted a novel that perfectly exemplified what was to become of the country in the following years. Written by Kafka in 1914, The Trial contained numerous totalitarian representations, mocking the form of government in which the citizens are bound to the absolute rule of an autocratic authority. The book was not published and exposed to the world until the initial introduction of despotism in the late 1920s....   [tags: industralization, militia, power]

Term Papers
783 words (2.2 pages)

Comparing Terror in Franz Kafka's The Trial and The Man Who Disappeared

- Nature of Terror in Franz Kafka's The Trial and The Man Who Disappeared "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" (Roosevelt 93). In Franz Kafka's The Trial and The Man Who Disappeared (Amerika), the nature of terror is exposed to the fullest extent. The main characters in both works, Josef K. and Karl Rossmann are both used as pawns in the chess game also known as society. The dramatic impact from the major turn of events would create a tremendous change in both characters. Josef K., who was arrested for no apparent reason would have his life totally dominated by the judicial system....   [tags: Comparison Compare Contrast Essays]

Free Essays
1214 words (3.5 pages)

Within A Budding Grove by Marcel Proust and The Trial by Franz Kafka Essay

- When interpreting characters in novels readers perceive characters by the impressions the author provides to writers. In the novels Within A Budding Grove by Marcel Proust and The Trial by Franz Kafka the characters Albertine and Josef K. can be looked at in many different perspectives. Proust portrays Albertine to be a multifaceted, unpredictable character but when taking a step away from the narrator’s thoughts she can be seem in a completely different light. Kafka’s main character Josef K....   [tags: Within A Budding Grove Essays]

Term Papers
2023 words (5.8 pages)

Essay about Kafka's The Trial

- Kafka's The Trial Comparing Franz Kafka with a more modern author, such as J.K. Rowling, is much like comparing Wilt Chamberlain to Kobe Bryant. It is extremely difficult to compare these two NBA stars when they played sixty years apart from one another. There are so many factors to consider including: the quality of coaching, competition, etc....   [tags: Kafka Trial]

Free Essays
1199 words (3.4 pages)