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Written by Timothy Sexton
By locating the courthouse in a shabby, ugly, cramped, run-down and overpopulated apartment building that seems to be as disconnected and distanced from the typical grand court buildings constructed of marble columns and a prestigious façade serves to make it a symbol for illegitimacy. The courthouse and everything connected with it has a nightmarish and absurd quality to it that suggests the entire process is shabby, run-down and ugly.
The Judiciary as Religion
One particularly popular view among some scholarship is that the judiciary which seeks to implicate the guilt of Josef K. without informing him of what crime he has a committed is actually a complex symbol of man’s relation to church authority which insists upon his being a creature of sin without adequately explaining exactly why.
The Justice System
Because Kafka was so prescient in his book, it is easy for modern day readers to assume that the novel is an allegory of extreme totalitarian regimes like fascist Germany or Stalin-era Russia. In fact, the writing preceded all the 20th century regimes which it resembles and that should make it all the more horrifying. The justice system portrayed here which seems to be a totalitarian nightmare is actually mor a symbol of non-totalitarian bureaucracy in which its members are committed to the process rather than result of the process. As long each in the hierarchy performs according to its own individual mandate, what happens above or below is inconsequential.
The Arresting Officers
On an existential interpretation of the novel, the officers arrive to arrest Josef K. without offering any information as to what crime he committed or—especially—the identity of his accuser are a Freudian symbol of his unconscious guilt.
The Door in the Parable
The parable of the doorkeeper is fraught with symbolic meaning, but essentially boils down to answering a single question: What does a door intended for just one person who can never actually enter it because it is blocked by a guard who obstructs entry represent? And, of course, is that it is a symbol of taking responsibility for your life. The parable is about who wastes his life trying to get through a door because it is meant just for him, but just because a door is intended for you does not mean that you have to enter it. Especially if you barred from doing so. The point is to exercise free will by turning your back on the door, forgetting about it and leading your life so the symbolism all about taking responsibility.
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