Kafka and Guilt

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  • Topic: Franz Kafka, The Trial
  • Pages : 3 (1081 words )
  • Download(s) : 48
  • Published : April 21, 2012
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Guilt has relative existence; in one sense or another, every man experiences guilt. Whether or not this guilt is worthy of punishment, however, is another question. For this, modern society has created trials that decide whether or not a person is guilty. However, sometimes the actual guilt or innocence of an individual is not the most important aspect of his or her trial. In the novel, The Trial, Franz Kafka uses his main character Joseph K to show the unimportance of the actual guilt of an individual. Although K is arrested and summoned by the courts, he is never informed of his crime, or questioned on his actual guilt. The trial that K is put through can be interpreted on two levels, the first of which is a literal interpretation of a criminal trial. The second level can be seen as the internal trial that he must go through to cope with his own anxiety. K and his trial are used to represent the eternal guilt of human beings in the eyes of a bureaucracy, and in this sense, K is guilty. However, the question of K's guilt is not important to Kafka's intention to show his idea that the innocent and the guilty [are] both executed without distinction in the end. In Kafka's beliefs, the courts treat all men as if they were guilty. Joseph K is a prime example of this treatment. He is never told about his crime, nor of how the trial is going. He merely waits until he is summoned, and if he is not, he is still forced to live his life according to the courts. This is what Kafka believes happens to all individuals; they are controlled by the society, and forced to agree with what the society implements upon them. K never found out what his alleged crime was, and will never find out. However, he was forced to agree with his own guilt because the society did not give him any other option. When he was told of his three possible outcomes, none included a statement of innocence. K allowed the trial and the pressure to run his daily life, and was never able to return to his...
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