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

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K. decides to withdraw his case from the lawyer, Huld. He wants to do it facing him in person, watch his reaction and then decide when he knocks at the door some stranger (Block) opens the door, dressed improperly. He is a client of the lawyer's. Leni is busy as usual, making soup for the lawyer. K. suspects that block is Leni's lover. Leni thinks that K. is jealous of block. Block is a grain dealer. He says that Huld has been his lawyer for more then five years. He (Huld) handles both civil and criminal cases. Block has several lawyers to handle his case. He has lost a lot of money and a great deal of his energy in the case. Block also says that he was present in the courts during K.'s trial. People in the court are superstitious and looking at K.'s determined expression they think that his case will not turn out well. He also says that superstitious are increasing in the modern age though they are traditional Block says that all the petitions he had made them out to be useless. Since they are written in Latin block could understand very little. The interviews conducted by the lawyer are just a routine exercise. The court messengers visit Dr. Huld often. He also informs him about "great lawyers". Leni treats Block as if he is related. She seems to be too familiar with Block and thus irritates K.

Block says he approached smaller lawyers expecting instant results. K. is shocked that to find Block there most of the time. Leni is less polite to K. and feels K. does not pay much attention to him. Block feels that K.'s waiting for six months is not as long a duration, compared to his waiting. Leni seems to be fond of Block because K. does not give her the attention that she needs. While Huld handled Block's case Block patiently went through all the inquiries and interrogations, providing evidence, making petition. The petitions are written in Latin. It has details like flattering the officials the officials self-praising about the lawyer himself humbling himself before the courts; quotations from similar cases in the part. Though it is scrupulously executed it has had no effect on the case. There is no progress. The case is also hot set to rest. The interviews are merely ritualistic and Blocks’ responses are mechanical. The court does not seem ever intent to restart his case. Dr. Huld has classed himself among the great lawyers and described the lesser ones as "petty fogging", who were in a sense greedy. He says that there are great, small and petty fogging lawyers in that hierarchy. Everybody keeps dreaming of great lawyers. Great lawyers choose their clients and the clients who are not pinned down by the lower courts.

Though ordinary lawyers go through endless, boring procedures great lawyers are unreachable. Again K. is larger in size, physically than Block. Height gives him a sense of superiority. Leni warns K. against trusting Block. The lawyer ignores Block and stalls all the interviews, while Block sleeps in the maid's room. This is disgusting to K.'s mind. He suddenly feels like getting rid of Leni and the lawyers. The thought of sharing Leni with Block disgusts him. Block wants K. to trade one of his secrets with him. She tries to physically stops K. from dismissing the lawyer.

The lawyer sees that Block has locked the door and asks whether he is running away from Leni. The lawyer says that Leni loves all the clients who return her love. The lawyer points at Leni's strange nature, of loving all accused men. He says accused men stand out prominently. They seem to be attractive. Block finds Leni attractive. The lawyer as usual evades the issue of the progress of the case. So K. dismisses him abruptly and says that he does not need his services. The lawyer persuades K. not to take the drastic step and says that he likes K. he says that many of his clients have reacted in the same manner. K. is surprised that the lawyer requests him not to withdraw. K. wonders why he persists. Is he helping his fellow judges or does he not want to face them with the loss of a single case? The lawyer says K. has been treated too well, but he is arrogant. K. is made to sit beside the bed on the spot that the chief clerk occupied when K. first met the lawyer.

Block comes in and complains to the lawyer about K. Block trembles at the lawyer's voice shouting. The lawyer questions Block about his contacts with other lawyers implicating K. though K. never breathed a word to the lawyer about Block's ventures. Huld commends Blocks’ lawyer to kneel like an animal. Luckily Block does not obey him. He remonstrates that though he is guilty he is not an invalid like the lawyer. The lawyer wants to insult and demean him in K.'s presence, which provokes Block. Block also tells the lawyer that K. is impatient while he himself has been waiting for five years. Leni tries to pacify the lawyer by stroking him. He also asks Leni how he has been behaving. He is treated like a dog.

The lawyer says that the judge looked into Block's case and gave an unfavorable reply. In spite of Leni trying to soften his stand the lawyer says that the judges are not willing to take up Block's case. The lawyer does not even address Block by his name. He is scared to even stir from his place. Though the lawyer insists that Block lives in his house the lawyers bill his case as being hopeless. Block is characterized by the lawyer has being dirty and unattractive, even revolting. The lawyer tries insisting that Block need not be worried if the judge is dissatisfied with his case once. Block is portrayed as plucking the fur rug like dogs while Leni warns him to pay attention.

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