Essay about The Trial : A Totalitarian System Of Justice

Essay about The Trial : A Totalitarian System Of Justice

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Franz Kafka’s novel “The Trial” examines a totalitarian system of justice that appears stems from human attempts to attain justice. An external, secret court exists outside of the public eye but holds the authority to carry out trials and judgements. When a startled Josef K is charged with some undisclosed act, Kafka examines the corrupt and absurd nature of the judiciary. As corruption runs through the system, it becomes normative and systemic in nature. Moreover, secrecy threatens the accused right to a fair trial, while symbols illustrate the totality of the justice system. Kafka utilizes symbolism and foreshadowing to depict a corrupt and bureaucratic judiciary. This stems from human attempts to attain justice, which develops as a theme of injustice throughout the novel.

Systemic levels of corruption run through the justice system Kafka depicts, creating an unjust system. From early on in the novel, the author is exposed to the backroom nature of the court system, where bribes are expected and influence required to win cases. While discussing the matter with his attorney, the protagonist, Josef K is told, “it’s even possible they will pretend to be carrying on the trial in the hope of receiving a large bribe” (Kafka 71). The normative nature of bribery is revealed to the reader through this excerpt as bribery is being plainly discussed. In modern judiciaries, bribery is illegal and shunned from public eyes, yet Kafka’s totalitarian justice rewards those who can afford and are willing to make bribes, creating an unjust system. Moreover, influence is revealed as being just as important in assuring trial verdicts are positive for the accused. When Josef K discusses the matter with Herr Huld, his attorney, Kafka demonstrates th...


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...teria regarding guilt or innocence. Consequently, the totality of justice and the authority individuals have within the system undermine any hope of a fair trial for the accused.
In closing, Kafka’s “The Trial” utilizes symbols and foreshadowing to depict a corrupt and inefficient judiciary. As characters attempt to attain justice, the system in place perpetuates injustice toward the accused. Kafka’s work illustrates the dangers of a totalitarian system of justice and the need for public vigilance coupled with equal access to the law. While the novel may appear absurd at times, the overall theme of injustice is clearly demonstrated throughout and is systemic in nature. Human attempts to attain justice must root themselves in a careful balance between the accused and the abstract law. When this balance is eroded, totalitarian justice can seem to become normative.

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