The Trial

The Trial Analysis

The Trial in a novel by Franz Kafka, published for the 1st time in 1925 after his death, along with other writings by this author. This work is one more story in Kafka’s extraordinary stories set, which genre is defined by different literature scientists as a kind of parable story, morality novel, a theology-connected story related with Kabbalah thought (still it has already been almost fully denied by critics), and a kind of onirism story (i. e. in a form of dream/nightmare). Researchers state that the reason for the story was annulling of engagement with Kafka’s bride. The process of writing itself was chaotic. But with a great certainty the novel is the following development of Kafka’s absurdity thought, which is more or less presented in all his stories.

The ‘parableness’ of the story is best observed in the structure of composition and events described, which seem to be much complicated, but at the same time they develop the idea of absurdity and the truth of life, that author tends to depict according to another interpretation theory. This truth might be related to bureaucracy, and unjust sentencing, and even to the dim and spoilt human mind in the 20th century. The absurdity may be observed on the levels of events connections, of a single character, of the general tendency of the reality in the story. This idea is interrelated with the others: totalitarianism, guilt and punishment, responsibility for one’s life, and transparent Kafka’s theme – loneliness.

In the aspect of totalitarianism, The Trial reveals one of the most powerful institutions of the totalitarian dictatorship – the unfair courts. In the story these are not already some separate institutions – the sitting may take place in any building, the 24-hour stakeout and a label of perpetrator are guaranteed, which contributes to isolation of Josef K., what finally means loneliness. The investigators of Kafka’s works and biography say, that such image of unfair judicial power might have the prototype – the Austro-Hungarian Empire bureaucracy, which F. Kafka faced personally while working as a clerk.

Another view on the story is connected with the issue of guilty and punishment, but in somewhat different perspective. Most readers will state that Josef K. was sentenced unfairly, and thus the author criticizes such events. But, according to this view, the courts in the story are the evil embodiment, so that the characters - and Josef K. especially - are to resist the evil. The sentencing in the story has no reason, as well as the evil in our lives has no its one. But Josef chooses another way and blindly accepts his destiny. Josef seek for the answer – how to resist – but no one gives it him, because everyone must develop the own answer to such question. In result – Josef’s death is caused in fact by himself and by his inactivity towards evil, and some part of readers regard it(death) as the fair one.

Responsibility for one’s life – hypothesis created by German philosopher Erich Fromm, who states, that Josef K. represents a kind of people unable to take their existence. Josef’s life has no value. F. Kafka, being an existentialism writer, creates a situation when such passive character can change his own life. There are two options: non-acceptance offered by the priest, and obedience imposed by the court. Right before his death Josef sees what things are the most important in life. As E. Fromm writes, only in the moment of death he (Josef K.) believed in life.

Finally – loneliness. It may be understood from two points of view: sympathy and criticism. In the first case, Josef and all his story is worth sympathy as a story of a completely lonely person. In the second case, Josef hardly tries to change situation and create some relations and maintain them. He has no great feelings towards the humans at all. Only in the last moment of his life he notices A PERSON, who is Josef’s way out of loneliness, but he finds this way too late. This transparent idea is related and developed from the biography of the author, as F. Kafka experienced non-acceptance and isolation from both society and family, and, despite being married, he couldn’t get rid of the loneliness.

There are many other interpretations of Kafka’s works and The Trial itself. And each of them may be more or less adequate, as the author indeed created a unique reality, which provides numerous discussions and evaluations. It is hard to state definitely, which events Kafka wanted to praise and which to criticize. Obviously, Kafka is humanist, as well as all of these ideas were consciously brought there and developed by him. But also Kafka’s works may be regarded not as pure ideas, but as ideas related to life and which often have roots in life. The Trial is a surreal and disturbing novel, experiencing high interest among readers and literature critics.

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