The Trial

The Trial on Trial

Since its original date of publication in 1925, Franz Kafka’s The Trial has resisted interpretation. At first glance, the novel’s seemingly simple and serial sequence of events poses no problem for the reader. Though the incidents that involve Joseph K. are themselves particularly odd and almost fantastic, the reader is able to follow. However, in the second to last chapter of the novel, the reader encounters an utterly confounding story about one man’s entrance to “the Law.” The chapter, and the story contained therein, poses a problem for one who wishes to ask ‘what is The Trial about?’ Though it seems reasonable to be able to extrapolate the “bigger meaning” of the novel itself from a story contained within, both portions of the novel resist an analysis that results in a clear-cut conclusion. The story “Before the Law,” the text for the discussion between the priest and K. in the chapter “In the Cathedral,” is open to a wide-range of interpretations and when confronted with this tale, the reader and K. become frustrated at the lack of a solid, logical end. This experience, however, is not at all isolated to this particular chapter; within The Trial, there is a systematic denial of definite, unambiguous conclusions....

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