Kafka's THE TRIAL resembles a dream. Despite the gloomy image we tend to associate him with, Kafka was a dreamer, and his works encompass the same dream substance, from their structure to the strangeness of the images, sounds, ideas and emotions they instill. His writings imitates to the point of ridicule the irrational and scary madness of the moving universe of the night that we call dream. The author deals with the existential theme of the Being whose boundless vanity brought alienation from itself, whose own superiority complex brought self-sabotage, who fell victim to an identity and spiritual crisis. In the times we live in, man lost the conscience of his connection with the Universe, being absorbed until forgetfulness by his own person. A person from whom the weight of an exacerbated ego eventually leaves only fragments of a false identity, founded on illusion.
The first level of the existential theme illustrates, in Josef K.'s case, a rigid behavior and secret carnal pleasures he elicits from pain, thus trying to repress his anger, hate, shame, fear... and so much more! The absurd and nightmarish system of Justice amplifies these paradoxal pleasures, providing a fertile and generous background for him to exeprience them intensely. The same system is, however, simultaneously a mechanism able to arouse his vanity. The illusion of a fleeting state of legitimacy as a moral and irreproacchable human being is thus expertly fabricated...
K. will be drawn into the labyrinth of this hallucinatory machine against which, paradoxically, he won't fight, but rather get to enjoy its mechanisms and hidden pathways. Actually, there is nothing surprising here, because only as such is he able to propel his most bizzare fantasies... His ego develops an actual cult for desire, conflictingly strenghtened by guilt, self-blame, fear and shame. Therefore, he no longer lives the world's existence, but his own opinion about it.
The second level of the existential theme debates another pair of terms: to have and to be, a conflict which K. perceives as a blurring of his authentic existence in favor of an illusory accumulation of justifications. The irrepresible need to leave in search of to be is stringently necessary to him, but remains unachievable, because our character continuously unravels himself his own existence. He choses to let himself blocked by questions, he himself amputates his principle of being in the world. A being which, anyway, needs no justifications, as K. seems to believe... K.'s painful incapacity to fulfill his visceral desires and his amnesia about personal meaning point out to a larval identity that Kafka only indicates, but refrains from interpreting it for us.
By burning all bridges to the World, K. is the only one to blame for having being exiled from his own life. An instant and painful consequence of this absence is undoubtedly loneliness. But K.'s loneliness is just an iteration in the void of his incapacity to truly exist and, at the same time, a refuge from the fright caused by the very nature of life. He lives an unauthentic, sterile, parasite's life. Eventually, K. could be defined shortly as an individual unable to justify his own existence to himself or to the others.
All the other characters are tiny wheels of Justice's impenetrable mechanism, emphasizing the will of power, the force of sexuality and the stages of becoming.
Kafka's THE TRIAL never names or clearly indicates it, the Shame. It is already imposed. Even so - Kafka seems to tell us through his avatar K. - to declare your innocence is an even bigger perversion than to assume an already imposed guilt.
Beyond all these, there still remains the choice: „like a dog" or like a Man?
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