The essence of the events that had happened is impassively stated in the first sentence of the work. Waking up on the day of his thirtieth birthday, Joseph K. discovers that he is under arrest. Instead of the servant with the usual breakfast an unknown gentleman in black enters for his call. In the next room there are a few strangers. They politely inform caught by surprise K. that "the beginning of his case is on and in due course he will learn of it." These unbidden intruders into his home make him both laugh and disturb, as he feels no guilt. He does not doubt for a moment that the incident is not more than a wild misunderstanding or a practical joke. However, all his attempts to find out anything encounter an impenetrable courtesy. Who are these people? From offices are they from? Where is a warrant for his arrest? Why in the state of law, where "peace is, and all the laws are immutable," such an outrage is allowed? His angry questions receive condescending answers, without clarifying the essence of the case. The morning ends with visitors offering K. to go, as always, for his service to the bank, because, as they say, only a preliminary investigation of his case is carried out, and he can carry out his duties and lead a normal life. It turns out that among the strangers who carried out the arrest of K., there are three of his colleagues at the bank - so colorless that K. did not even recognize them. They escorted him in a taxi to the bank, keeping a straight polite silence.
Until now K. had every reason to consider himself a lucky man, because he held a strong, solid position. In a large bank, he worked as a proctor, he had a spacious office and a lot of helpers. Life flowed quite calm and measured. He was respected by colleagues, and by his mistress at the guesthouse Frau Grubakh. When after work K. returned home, it was Mrs. Grubakh he first spoke with about the morning visit and was surprised that she was aware of the matter. She has advised not to take the incident to heart, try not to hurt himself, and at the end of a conversation shared with him her assumption that his arrest has something "scientific".
Of course, K., and without that was not going treat the incident seriously. However, apart from the will he had some confusion and agitation. Otherwise, how could he commit quite a strange thing the same evening? Insisting on an important conversation, he walked into the room of a young neighbor girl, and the case ended up that he was kissing her eagerly, which would never have happened before.
Several days pass. K. is working hard in the bank and trying to forget the stupid case. But soon on the phone he is informed that a preliminary investigation of his case is appointed on Sunday. The form of this message is still very courteous, although still nothing is clear. On the one hand, they explain him that they all are interested to complete the process as quickly as possible, on the other - it is very difficult, and therefore the investigation should be conducted with great care. K. remains standing by the phone, and in this position the deputy director, his hidden longtime foe, finds him.
On Sunday K. rises early, gets carefully dressed and goes to the outskirts to the indicated address. He strays in a working-class neighborhood, and cannot find the right place. Quite unexpectedly, he finds the purpose of his visit in one of the poorest apartments. A woman, who is washing clothes, passes him to the hall, packed full of people. All faces are inconspicuous and dull. The man on stage says strictly K. that he was late for an hour and five minutes. After that K. comes forward and begins to speak. He is determined to put an end to this obsession. He exposes the methods by which the so-called investigation is conducted, and laughs at the miserable notebooks that are posted as documentation. His words are full of credibility and logic. The crowd meets them with laughter, murmur, and then applause. The room is filled with the thick fumes. Having finished his angry monologue, K. takes his hat and leaves. Nobody delays him. Only at the door a hostile silent investigator draws K.’s attention that he deprived himself of the "advantages", refusing to be interrogated. K. Answers with laughing.
Another week passes, and on Sunday, without waiting for a new challenge, K. goes himself to the familiar address. The same woman opens the door, reporting that no meetings today are held. They get into a conversation, and K. discovers that the woman knows the course of his trial and looks full of sympathy for him. She is the wife of the minister of the court. K. suddenly feels that is inevitably attracted to her. However, the woman eludes from him with some student, who suddenly appears the room. Then deceived husband comes, who does not grieve on frivolity of his wife. And this man also is informed of the process. And he is ready to give K. useful tips, referring to his great experience. He calls K. the accused and kindly offers him to visit the office. And they climb the stairs and pass some long dark passages, seeing behind the bars officials sitting at tables, and rare visitors, waiting for something. They all were accused as well as K.
In fact everything is even more difficult. Not only health, but also mind, and the whole way of life imperceptibly changes as a result of the strange events. As if these changes are not obvious, but with the inexorability of fate K. immerses in something strange, viscous, not depend on his will and desire called, in this case the trial. This trial has its own process, its hidden logic, hidden from the understanding of the main character. Although K. tries not to tell anyone about his trial, almost everyone in his surrounding is aware of it - work colleagues, neighbors at the guest house and even the occasional counter. It also turns out that in the trial in some way are involved completely different people, and as a result K. begins to suspect everybody.
Quite incredible things happen next. So, one day, in the corridor of the bank K. hear sighs coming from the closet. When he opens the door with a jerk, then in disbelief, he finds three men bent. One of them turns out to be an executioner, and the two are to be punished with rods. Whining they explain the reason for spanking – it is K., who complained about them to the investigator in his diatribe. In the eyes of the astonished K. the executioner continues spanking them.
Another important detail of what is happening. Everyone in the story treats K. politely willing to enter into an explanation, and the result is that everyone can alone explain and understand, but the whole is hidden more under the cover of escheat absurdity. Finally the hero is completely confused. K. is forced to deal only with minor official who are eager to tell him about their own problems and who are not guilty of what is happening, and higher authorities, which he believes are responsible for everything, remains unknown and inaccessible to him. He is fighting with some system he himself is a part of.
So he moves in circles of it trial, being tightened in the funnel of strange and impersonal procedures, and more he seeks to protect himself, more troubles makes for his own case. Once his relative comes to him, his uncle, who came from the province. As expected, the uncle also has already heard about the trial and is terribly worried. He aggressively drags K. to his friend lawyer who should help. The lawyer is ill, he accepts his uncle and K. being in bed. He is, of course, also more than knowledgeable about the disaster that has befallen K. young nurse named Lenny is taking care after the lawyer. When in the course of a long and boring conversation K. leaves the room, Lenny drags him into the study, and right there on the carpet, seduces him. Uncle angrily scolds his nephew, when after some time they leave the lawyer’s house as it was impossible not to guess the reason for his long absence from the room. He made his trial worse again However, the lawyer did not refuse to protect K. And K. many times comes to him and there Lenny is waiting for him and gives K. her caresses, but does not become closer to a hero. Like other women in this novel she is crafty, fickle and annoyingly, painfully flawed.
K. is deprived of rest. At work he is absent-minded and gloomy. Now fatigue does not leave him and finally he catches a cold. He is afraid of visitors and begins to flounder in the business papers, horrified, that gives cause for complaint. Once K. is in charge to accompany some Italian visitor. Despite the indisposition, he arrives at the central cathedral, where the meeting is appointed. The Italian is nowhere. K. enters the cathedral, deciding to wait out the rain here. And suddenly, in a solemn twilight of his name is called by a stern voice. The priest, who calls himself a chaplain in prison, questions K. and says that his trial situation is bad. K. obediently agrees. He already realizes it himself. The priest tells him the parable of the Supreme Body of the Laws and K. is trying to challenge the interpretation of it.
And now a year has passed and on the morning of K.’s next birthday. About nine o'clock to his apartment came two gentlemen in black. K. as if expecting them sat on a chair by the door slowly putting on the gloves. He saw no reason to produce any resistance, although felt ashamed of his own humility.
They quietly left the house, passed through the city and stopped at a small abandoned quarry. They took off his jacket and shirt and put his head on a rock. At the same their gestures and movements were extremely courteous. One of them took out a sharp knife. K. felt that he should grab the knife and stab him himself, but he lacked the force. The last his thoughts were about the judge, whom he had never seen - where is he? Where is the High Court? Maybe some arguments are forgotten that could have saved his life?
But at this moment the hands of the first master grabbed his throat and the second one thrust the knife into his heart and turned twice.