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MonkeyNotes-The Trial by Franz Kafka
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THEMES

The theme is based on the protagonist's inability to reach his own self. The court's summons is symbolic of a call of a higher spiritual existence. The protagonist resists submitting to this force. Instead he holds on to laws in conscious life. The 'Trial' also deals with totalitarian politics and the illogical beaurocracy, which is evident in modern living. It is evident in professions, visa litigators and seemingly democratic organization. In keeping with the Judaic tradition the book is a commentary on the system. It is not a reflection of the Judiciary. It concerns Kafka's yearning for truth, to create something universal and the urge to live in a world, overpowered by destiny and human contradiction. There are these two opposing trends one of human and the other of fate. The theme skillfully avoids the everyday ordinary happenings and incidents of a regular novel. It concerns unusual guilt, where the guilt is not specified. The reader and the protagonist, K. are caught in the trial. There is almost an amnesia or forgetfulness which forgets to greet his cousin on her birthday. The trial seems to afford a lot of hope of freedom, but in reality there is none for the accused. He is sentenced to live an accused victim's life. This is the metaphysical aspect of Judaism, which the novel deliberates. The protagonist tries to free himself from his guilt, though he does not know what the guilt is. There is no joy in the act of living. The theme is pessimistic.


The maze of courts with the characters abounding in it caricatures a bureaucratic. It is a satire on the modern state with its administration, agencies and services. It also concerns the poverty of the officials who resort to bribery. There are sexual Themes in the affairs of the judges and of K. himself.

The parables, the usher, the painter and the lawyer are figures of a metaphysical religious imagination. In a strange way it also delineates the fallen man in Judeo Christian philosophy, who has the freedom to be a culprit. That would be Kafka's masterly stroke.

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