Depiction of Anxiety Legal System Inflicts on People in The Trial

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Franz Kafka wrote, “The Trial”, during the early stages of World War I, that illustrates a society during this time that uses their legal system as a weapon to inflict fear and isolation, destroying the spirit of individuals within the society.

The novel beginnings with Josef K. waking up on his 30th birthday to two guards wrongfully accusing him of an unnamed crime, that which he has no knowledge of. Josef was arrested with a criminal charge, without any prior evidence or reasoning, to a crime that he never committed. At the beginning of his first steps in trial, Josef K. struggles to find “justice”; he was repeatedly harassed, victimized and treated as less than a human. This informal justice becomes a power struggle between himself and the threat that is in authority. In, “The Trial”, Kafka, wanted Josef’s character to represent the tragic fates of many untold victims treated unjustly by their political and legal systems. Before Joseph K was accused with this crime, he was an ordinary chief bank clerk, who considered himself to be well respected. This was until he was taken into custody for this undisclosed crime that challenges his idea of where he stands in the world. He moves from lawyer to lawyer trying to find someone who will help him find the answers of justice he is looking for.

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Throughout this process, K., is told by multiple lawyers that whatever action he proceeds with will not make a difference in the decision of the court. This causes a lot of fear and anxiety for Josef, making him feel trapped in his legal system. Josef questions if he should pause his work as a blank clerk, and commit his life to defend himself innocent from the untouchable court that he faces. Kalfka writes, “[D]idn't a painstaking defense simultaneously imply the necessity of cutting himself off as far as possible from everything else? Would he successfully survive that?” (209), to show the significance of this very issue. As K. beings to feel more isolated and alone in society than ever before, he continues to question more of his life. K. questions if he should change the entire aspect of his daily life and devote himself to pursue his own case. The court is now seen to infiltrate his daily life as he separates himself from his work. Josef K.’s case illustrates the violence of such legal systems and how it erodes their normative worlds. Over the time that Josef is left questioning, he acknowledges the slim chances of his case being acquittal to the courts.

After many months of Josef searching for his answers, he is informed by civilians who have had former relations to the court. These affected individuals tell K. that there is no chance of winning his case without the help of others. He was formally notified that the only way to win his trial was to use these civilian's legal and political ties to convince the court of his innocence. When there was barely any progress being made over this long period of time, K., becomes agitated and his hope slowly diminishes as he is barely fazed by the second arrest, before he was put to death at the end of the novel. At this point in the novel, he feels like this was an act, or a big joke, as he asks the two affected men “What theatre do you play in?” (266). K. becomes more like Block, another defendant, who committed his life to defend himself by alienating himself from his job for many years, just to hear that his trial has yet to begin. His status diminishes from high class to low class as he devotes, not only his time, but his money. The man is now known practically as the “lawyer’s dog”(). The relations between these two men become relevant when Joseph K dies, “like a dog” at then of the novel, when the court put K. to death. The whole idea of this defense is a paradox. In a normal world, where an individual would have the opportunity to define his or her innocence, they still have some sort of freedom. This long trial showcases the effects of the court, as they turn a respected individual, to an animal treated with no security of natural rights.

In this representation of a modern world, traditional interpersonal relationships to deteriorate over time. The social ties he previously had, slowly taken a turn as every relationship he makes becomes solely related to his persecution and the court in power overall. Even though K. was a married man, he begins to make multiple sexual relations with the women he meets in these events. He uses these women in order to find out information for the course of the trial. One usher's wife in particular, who he had relations with, asks K. if he wants to change the ways of the current system. This is the same woman who allowed herself to be sexually harassed by a young man who her husband believed would be a better judge someday infant of man court officials. This manifests the idea that power within the court system is critical as everyone will do what it takes to stay safe and keep the status that they have. The washerwomen don’t have any regard for the bond and meaningfulness of a marriage. In a normal world, a woman would not regularly feel comfortable with just any man to have her way with her specially in public as a married woman. Marriage should be a big deal in a normative world as a vow is made between a man and a woman. Women, especially low class, are seen as objects and have assured roles throughout the book with no opinions or feelings. As the book progresses and these sexual relations benefit him in the long run, it's easy to see that sex has no sentimental meaning in this society.

Going back to K's plan on revenge on the court, he regards his affairs solely to his revenge causing him to have ignorant relationships with women. Throughout the novel, it can be. Concluded that it was a way to find and seduce women but was difficult to maintain a relationship. Men used lower-class women as pawns to meet their lust and sexual desires causing them to live and die alone like K who dies as a bachelor. K’s behavior with women suggests that he is trying to take control of his own destiny while the court is really held his fate. It suggests the idea that K loses control of his own emotions in this fight as he feels like he “inherited crime” as Adam and Eve committed the first sin and now he lives in isolation and guilt from the combination of forced fate and the power of the invisible court. In addition, his relationship to women, K’s business relationships also become altered as he can barely focus on work and is no longer attentive at work as his supervisor, who he previously did not get along with, steps in to help his clients.

Within this dystopian totalitarian society, the court forces conformity at all costs and at the end of the day a person can be wrongly guilty just for existing. The idea of an individual demanding defense is assured in a society that wants every individual to cooperate and co-exist. Though the depiction of Joseph K and other individuals within the society, it's easy to see the control the court has over the defendant's life, making them not only self-conscious but become accompanied by feelings of isolation and anxiety. When social conformity is refused, its automatically seen as a crime.

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