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Free Study Guide: The Trial by Franz Kafka - Synopsis / Analysis

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THE TRIAL: FREE ONLINE NOTES / STUDY GUIDE

CHAPTER 7

Notes

This chapter is about court procedures and the inactivity that ensues in K.'s trial. Though he tries to keep himself busy, he is mentally occupied with the case. In fact he is considering attempting a self-defending account. We see that K.’s advocate is well aware of the manner in which the court’s proceedings are handled. He knows that the court officials never read the cases, which are filed. Kafka doesn’t hold the lawyer’s profession in very high esteem.

Kafka’s opinion of the lawyer’s profession is reflected in the graphic description of the lawyers room. The room is steeped in darkness with a single skylight, almost like a cell. It is noteworthy that he compares the lawyer’s room to a cell. The floor has a hole where the lawyer might slip and fall, large enough for a single leg. The room is covered with chimney smoke signifying the uncertainty with reference to K.’s case and his destiny.


Another pointer to the K.’s dead-end condition is the fact that they do not find the necessity for a Defending Counsel. The accused himself is considered responsible for his defense. It is truly appalling that the proceedings are kept secret, hidden from the accused and the public.

With all these defects they never think in terms of modifying the judicial system. And there is no possibility of any change for the better as the lower officials feel it is better to adapt rather than come into conflict with the system and fall into "destruction". The only change one could expect is for the worse, a more ruthless and rigid system.

Time in this novel is recorded in the novel with the change of seasons. It is now winter. Spring has passed. K. was arrested in spring. He is now unable to withdraw from the trial. He is not confident of his relationship with Fräulein Burstner either. Holding a respectable position in the Bank, K. constantly reminds himself that he should not believe that he is guilty. He tries to handle it like a business deal, setting things, right. Now, it is a matter of the family's prestige. He feels he cannot just sit condemned like the accused in the attic lobby. He feels Dr. Huld's office is slowing down his case and he wants to withdraw his case. If he monitors the case himself he would be the sole accused who would stand up for his rights.

K. wonders how he could draw up his own plea and at the same time he has a compelling urge not to do so. From K.'s reflections it is revealed that the accusation and its cause are still unknown. And he finds it difficult to account for every moment of his activities. He is at the peak of his career, competing with even the Assistant Manager, wasting his time fighting a case without knowing the exact nature of his arrest.

The intriguing situation is not restricted to the court of law alone it is present in the bank as well. The Assistant Manager uses his influence over the invalid, Senior Manager to obtain favors for himself.

The painter, Titoreli is an important character in the book. The description of the Prague Township where the painter’s house is situated is extremely graphic. The painter's house is situated diametrically opposite to the court offices. It is a filthy area, rat infected, gutters oozing out in the snow, infants crying on the street. There is again the maze of staircases, which he climbs. It is filled with, young adolescent screaming girls.

The paintings of Titorelli allude to the nature of the judiciary. The portraits of all the judges look similar. All judges are vain enough to get themselves painted as though they are seated on the high chair. Though K. asserts that he is innocent, the painter thinks it is of little consequence. He also says that it is more possible that his case would be listened to by judges in portraits rather than by those in the actual room. But the court could be influenced behind the scenes. The painter seems to be more powerful than the lawyers themselves are.

There is an indication that K. himself doubts his innocence, it maybe because he is still not aware of the nature of the case filed against him. K. feels the court makes charges on flimsy grounds and does not discharge the accused, though the painter disagrees. The painter feels that K. would not get an acquittal, as it is possible the speechless pompous judges in all his portraits could pardon K., but in reality the court would never do so.

The painter says that though he has listened to judges commenting all his lifetime he has never come across a single "definite" acquittal.


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