In the Penal Colony

Religious Symbolism in Kafka’s In The Penal Colony College

Because essentially all faiths propose a set of moral and behavioral laws upon which one is expected to base one’s life decisions, religion and criminality are inexorably linked. While today in our society we aim to separate the two controversial subjects as much as possible, it cannot be denied that religion puts forth rules and regulations that align with those of the government, and that a moral compass and spirituality play a role in dealing with criminal cases. No matter how prevalent the separation of church and state in the contemporary movement towards secularism, people still swear on a Bible in court and talk of justice and repentance in church. Religion, particularly Christianity, has a subtle way of seeping into criminal sentencing and punishment because in the past laws originated from religious doctrines and were enforced by religious leaders who were often one and the same with government leaders. While the juxtaposition of the judgment of faith and of the court system has certainly decreased today, its past presence leaves its mark in many aspects of human culture, especially in arts like literature. For instance, this occurrence can be seen in Franz Kafka’s In the Penal Colony, which tells the chilling tale of...

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