Tragedy In Joseph Kafka's The Trial

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The Trial is divided into ten chapters, the importance of each chapter-break was usually a timeskip. In terms of the plot, The Trial has three parts to it; the first set up the problem facing Joseph K., the second was Joseph K. hopelessly attempting to overcome this ever changing problem facing his liberty, and the third and shortest act is the climax which resolves Joseph K.’s conflict. Kafka’s choice of using this structure helps emphasize Joseph K.’s tireless struggle with the Court because of the incredibly long second act. Because of The Trial’s primary subject matter of existential anxiety, false hope and helplessness, the nature of The Trial’s plot structure doesn’t have much of a setup and instead is a constant search for salvation …show more content…
The narrator is usually reliable and focused on Joseph K., but when the narrator strays from those two principles, we get powerful and scathing irony. The narrator also tends to take casual approaches to extremely absurd and terrifying events. “...in the room itself stood three men, stooping because of the low ceiling...the third man was holding a rod in his hand with which to beat them.” (pg. 94) This is such a casual approach by the narrator mentions the lighting, what Joseph K. says and the reactions of the strange men before he discusses the violent acts taking place. A whipping punishment in a closet, in the bank is one of the most absurd things one can imagine, yet the narrator addresses the mess in the closet before the torture! Meanwhile, there’s no doubt that Joseph K. immediately noticed the rod which was used to beat the clerks. This example is reflective of not only the ironic and somber tone, but the absurd tone that plasters The Trial.
In this next quote from The Trial, the ironic and somber tones of the entire book culminate into one sentence that incorporates pessimism into the book as a whole: “K. knew clearly now that it was his duty to seize the knife as it floated from hand to hand above him and plunge it into itself. But he didn't do so...He could not rise entirely to the occasion, he could not relieve the authorities of all their work; the responsibility
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Diction/figurative language and imagery The Trial is filled to the brim with allegorical, surreal imagery, events and environments. In fact, many events are so absurd that they are in the grey area between literal and metaphorical. In the end, it’s all up to the reader who discerns whether something actually happened or not. This method of writing, achieves the basic end result in regards to the plot, but also succeeds in disorienting the reader and allows for more interpretation. Franz Kafka’s diction constantly reinforces the tone and mood of the novel as despondent. “Admittedly, the petition meant an almost endless task […] it might provide a suitable occupation for a mind turned childish.” (pg. 210) The choice of words in the preceding passage demonstrates the irony of Kafka’s writing, because the difference between what the reader knows, what the narrator knows and what Joseph K. knows allows us to crudely laugh but at something much different than Joseph K. would expect us to laugh at. G. Passage

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