The Trial
Franz Kafka
Contributed by Sung Miele
Symbols are objects or figures that artists use to represent an idea.
K’s Life

K.’s life at two levels - one at the conscious and the other at the spiritual are revealed despite the narrow constructions of the plot and this gives a certain universality. Both are "Everyman". Their struggles are a longing for a general word order. This unique method is Kafka’s attempt to transform the world into "the pure, the true, the unchangeable". Artistic and religions themes are used to create a universal truth. He tries to fight destiny and human weaknesses. The work presents a conflict between human efforts and fate, which contradicts all the rules made by man. In ‘The Trial’ the characters do not interact with each other clearly as it happens in the real world. The events are hazy. There is unrest in the structure of thought processes and something seems to go wrong in the whole world endlessly. There is a never-ending depressive gloom presented in the role of the advocate and the painter until the priest offers some relief in the last chapters.


K. also symbolizes the reader’s response. The voyeuristic reader is like the neighbors in the framed windows like an impressionist painting looking at K.’s room. Illusion is also used as an effective technique. K. prejudges the court and its officials. The whipping scene could also be an illusion. To return to the framed window, the framing metaphor leads to the "framing" of K. as the accused, who is in fact the author. K. walked the busy streets in his office through with the manufacturer, seeing life pass by. He sits by the chair near the window when he is arrested.


Huld symbolizes familial authority and divine with which K.’s uncle believes in. But K.’s refusal to give in symbolizes the modern man. Superstition used effectively also when the audience guesses who is guilty by looking at the accused. The court looms large finally as a ubiquitous metaphor dominating the interests of K. and the reader as a theatre where action or non-action is played out.

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