Kafka's The Trial
In The Trial by Franz Kafka, the Law, its courts, and its people seem to makeup a kind of poorly run, secret society. It appears that the purpose of this secret society is to uphold the Law although using very different methods of enforcement than what most people are used to. The arrest of Josef K. and the manner in which his trial is conducted attests to the unusual workings of this Law. The mysterious execution of Josef K. without any knowledge of a ruling only adds to the complexity of how the law works. Though what K. never does understand is that the accusations against him and the question of his guilt are almost irrelevant to his execution. In reality, K.'s survival depended completely on the Law's success in recruiting K. Which had the law been successful, might have proved to be worse than execution. The final scene though, marks the defeat of the Law even though this victory is in death.
It must first be said that the purpose of K.?s recruitment is impossible to be known for sure and of no significance either. K. held a high position in the business world and was respected in these aspects by men of his stature and by those above him. It is possible that because K. was young, intelligent, and successful, he appealed to a certain position the Law needed to fill. Or it could also have been that the Law wished K. to serve a necessary function for the court. The court may have needed K. to be like the defendants he saw in the court?s offices who could all unknowingly assisted the court in its operations. After all, K. is told by Titorelli the painter that a full acquittal has never been heard of and that a more likely result...
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...ute him. In this sense, the Law was defeated. Their only objective from the onset of the trial was to exploit K.?s instincts for survival. They had intended for K. to become so concerned with his trial that it would completely overtake his previous lifestyle. He would then soon fall from his place in society into the unbreakable grip of the Law. It first seemed as though K. would easily succumb to the pressures and be a helpless victim of the Law for the rest of his life. But with a rapid reversal in his actions, K. refused to become the victim and intended to live his life completely separated from the Law and his trial. He exercised his freedom over the efforts of the Law to control his life. His determination to live like he had always lived was therefore the direct cause of his death.
Kafka, Franz. The Trial. New York: Schocken Books, 1998.
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