The Trial

The above novel is one of the best known works of Franz Kafka that gives a story of a man who underwent prosecution by an authority that was deemed remote and inaccessible where the nature of the crime that he committed is revealed to neither the reader nor him.  His story was also filmed by several directors since 1962 with a more recent filming done in 1993. The novel was never completed thereby giving rise to some flaws in narration and some inconsistencies such as disparity in timing of some events and others. The story is about a young bank clerk known as Joseph K. who is unexpectedly arrested one morning by some government agents who are unidentified. Joseph K. is arrested for an unspecified crime where the agents never named a specific authority whom they were acting for. After his arrest, Joseph K. is released and asked to stay home where he would wait for instructions form the committee of affairs. As Joseph K. seeks to have a meeting with the magistrate, he is forced to have a meeting with an attendant’s wife. He goes on and discovers some indecent material in magistrate’s belongings. Later Joseph K. discovers the two agents who had earlier arrested him being whipped at the store room in the bank he worked for allegedly asking for a bribe from him. Joseph K. goes on in an unlikely situation by defending the two agents that it was not the right way to punish them. He discovers that his advocates are of no great help as they give him meaningless and circular advices after five years of hustle in the trial with them. Joseph K. is weighed down by the case after a long stressful trial and becomes disillusioned like many of the other clients in the same state. This highly affects his work as he is constantly exhausted from his worries and becomes unable to handle client issues in the bank and this makes him humiliated. He is finally executed offering less resistance to his executers having tried to get a fair trial but all in vain (Bennett 650-670).

In this story, the writer creates a world that is full of nightmares for Joseph K. In this world the rules can be said to be hidden from the highest known officials due to deep rooted government bureaucracies and help is seen to come from much unexpected sources. As Joseph K. struggles to find a way out of this world, he makes several mistakes that contribute for his unsuccessfulness. The mistakes that he makes are that he does not question the case and he readily accepts that there is a case against him at all. He clearly submits to the arrest with a mixture of submissiveness and outrage an attitude that is seen to influence much of his behavior which greatly contributes to his failure. He is unwilling to accept help from sources that he believes to be unreliable (Bennett 650-670). Another mistake he makes is his inability to make sense of the indistinguishable rules of the court. The author gives a good illustration of human tendency to authority submission even though the authority may be dubious. Joseph K. does not question the legitimacy of the courts, the law system that he allegedly violated and the case in general.

Kafka uses the above story to criticize and warn of government bureaucracy even in societies that are deemed as democratic. He tackles several government evils and bureaucracy, majoring on the social implications of he man made authorities on the individual. The writer believes that these government bureaucracies highly endanger the existing freedoms of the individual in modern society and it is highly damaging to the society in the long run. In his story the Trial, Kafka centers on the middle class urbanites for most part of the story. The whole legal system of courts, layers and others are given so much power and authority that makes it a material entity. The writer tries to reveal the evils of modernization and the rise of institutions such as the government and its bureaucracies in the society. He tries to warn the reader of the pervasive nature of corrupt forces like the one Joseph K. is in and tries to reveal how man tries to survive in the modern world and the loss of freedoms and rights that they will try to endure (Bennett 650-670).

Through his highlights on bureaucracy and the evils in government, Kafka’s name became an eponym Kafkaesque used in several cases to describe situations, ideas or concepts which are suggestive of the literary work of his (Blackmore 2). It usually describes an intentional deformation of reality by powerful bureaucrats. Kafka tries to warn us of government bureaucracies through his novel by using the main character Joseph K. and the way the government acted on his arrest, trial and the eventual execution. Joseph K. is arrested mysteriously for no allegedly committed crime and summoned by the courts. Joseph is never properly questioned on his actual guilt leave alone being informed on the crime he committed. Joseph is put through a trial that is seen to be in two levels. One of which is literal interpretation of a criminal trail and the other an internal torture that he goes through to be able to cope up with his own anxiety. The way Joseph is tried and executed shows how that government was bureaucratic and there is no much difference with today’s government. Kafka through his novel brings out what bureaucracy in the government impacts on the citizens by making individuals be controlled by the society. They are forced to agree with what the society employs upon them. Joseph k. never found out why he was arrested and forced to undergo trial due to the bureaucracy in the system. Having no options left for him due to the societal bureaucracy, Joseph was forced to agree with his own guilt. People lives are usually run down by the pressure and the disillusionment they get from such bureaucratic processes. The bureaucracy does not give people a chance of statement of innocence. The bureaucracies in the government are clearly shown by the author Kafka through a story told by prison guard in his book about a man who tried to find justice through the courts but in vain. The man in the prison guard’s story tries to enter the court room but the doorman denies him entry to the court room. The doorman in this story represents the bureaucracy in government processes that denies people the right of justice. The man in the story dies without a chance of entering the courtroom. Joseph K. tries as much as possible to learn the law system and try getting justice but he can not even get through the first door of the courts. The writer uses this to show and warn of government bureaucracies that hinder justice in the society (Blackmore 4)

Friedrich Nietzsche a famous philosopher has had a great influence in the world today through his philosophies that have been misunderstood in many situations. Many people have been influenced by Nietzsche’s philosophy ideas that include fellow philosophers, poets, artists and even the world’s known warmongers like Hitler. Several Nietzsche’s writings highly lend themselves to misinterpretation. The one that has been highly misinterpreted is the writings on the “superman”. As Nietzsche wrote this, he had in mind a person who had abandoned “crippling Christianity slavery morality” and is a full master of himself and therefore acts in his own interests (Ramsland). The man portrayed here looks at the world free of irrational beliefs and illusions and sees the world as it is. Hitler misinterpreted this making him such a dictator and had blind and slavish followers. Nietzsche repeatedly ignored the maxim, and is described by his acerbic hate for Christian teachings and protection of moral lawlessness. His writings were fine styled, and had several twists and turns of phrases and words that in many occasions led to detriment of clarity of meaning making it highly misinterpratable. He was prone to exaggeration and usually wrote for effect especially to create shock. Nietzsche frequently advocated for eugenical concepts, giving an insight that his thoughts had a significant value in hereditary and race.

Collins considered the following social mandate set by Nietzsche that:

Society as the trustee of life is responsible to life for every botched life that comes into existence; and as it has to atone for such lives, it ought consequently to make it impossible for them ever to see the light of day: it should in many cases actually prevent the act of procreation, and may, without any regard for rank, descent, or intellect, hold in readiness the most rigorous forms of compulsion and restriction, and, under certain circumstances, have recourse to castration ... 'Thou shalt do no murder,' is a piece of ingenuous puerility compared with 'Thou shalt not beget!!!' ... The [unhealthy] must at all costs be eliminated, lest the whole fall to pieces. (1).     

Hitler goes on to misinterpret the above by mass killing of the Jews and using his power to stomp out all the enemies of the state thereby sending many people to concentration camps. Other Nietzsche philosophy had ideologies of superior races exercising its will of power as it saw wish. This was misinterpreted by Hitler who spearheaded a wide scale persecution of minority races notably the Jews.    

Order now

Related essays