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MonkeyNotes-The Trial by Franz Kafka
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Chapter 10

Summary

This chapter is chronologically very explicit. Two black clothed men pick-up K. who is also dressed in black. Like in Chapter 1 at 9 a.m. the warders arrest K. at the same time. This incident has occurred exactly after one year of the first one, in fact the evening of the protagonist’s birthday.

The court acts according to the will of K. K.’s death is the issue. He has to die. His death is inevitable. There are two executioners who are appointed to kill K. They treat K. with amazing courtesy that is much more than the waders. This is so because their grip on K. is in such a "...unity which would have brought all three down together had one of them been knocked over." This welcomes the interpretation of these two men along with the warders, as being parts of K.’s "self" or his "ego." The warders because in the first chapter these two warders were described by one of them as being closer to K. than any other people in the world.


The trio then move towards the railway tracks - implying on the possibility of suicide - and thus evoking traces of ‘suicide’ in Kafka’s "The Judgement", where the death of the protagonist liberates him. In ‘The Trial’ K. contrarily does not choose to die. From the very beginning K.’s will to life is feeble, and his inability to commit suicide is only a distorted version of it. K. misses another opportunity to kill himself when the arrangements for his death are being made at the quarry. " K. now knew exactly that it would have been his duty to grab the knife passing back and forth over his head and plunge it into his own breast." K. blames fate for not having enough will power to commit the deed.

It is only when K. considers for the last time the option of killing himself that Fräulein Bürstner appears. She comes as if in a dream and triggers in K. a thought process. K. realizes that he had faltered in his understanding of the significance of her advice when she had rebuked him to depend upon himself. He realizes that it was meaningless to continue fighting death. The novel ends with the death of the protagonist Joseph K. The last lines are " ‘Like a dog!’ It was as if the shame of it must outlive him,..."

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