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MonkeyNotes-The Trial by Franz Kafka
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The painter says that though he has listened to judges commenting all his lifetime he has never come across a single "definite" acquittal. He says they could have a single executioner instead of having so many judges on the payroll. Though the court professed to have granted acquittals it is very difficult to prove one. The decisions of the judges are not documented, so the acquitted are only legendary. The painter with his artistic eye feels that there could be some truth in it. He feels he could paint several pictures based on those legends.

Though K. needs more proof than legends, he does not contradict Tilleroli. He rules out a definite acquittal while listening to the painter. The painter then recounts about an ostensible acquittal and its postponement. As he is listening, K. sweats excessively in the attic room though it is winter. It is so suffocating that he wants to push the window open and gulp the fog outside.

The painter continues his tale of the ostensible acquittal, which needs absolute involvement on the part of the accused whereas postponement would mean steady mental tension and strain. The painter is so confident that he says he could draw up an affidavit of K.'s innocence. The text was handed down to him by his father and would never be questioned.

He could than approach each of the judges. He even says he would guarantee his innocence to the judge who would accept it. He asserts that it would be more binding than a formal guarantee. The painter's eyes betray that the judge should not lay such a burden on him. Every judge might not trust him. Some would like to see him in person. If the judge called him then there was some hope. The painter says that he would advise him as to the course of action he should take. Even if some judges do not support him he could collect enough support from others judges for the affidavit. He could then approach the judge who conducts the trial. The accused would now have enough confidence, which is more important than the acquittal itself. He would then be free but then an ostensible acquittal also meant only provisional freedom.


In a definite acquittal the documents pertaining to the arrest would be destroyed. In an ostensible acquittal the case is never closed. The documents are retained, the "dossier" makes the rounds when a official demands and a record of the acquitted only is attached. He also says that he knows only the lower cadre of judges but they were empowered to grant only temporary acquittal. The highest court only had the power to grant a definite acquittal. What is very significant is that there is a long interval between the ostensible acquitted and the rears. Sometimes there is just a gap of a few hours when the accused is free and then he is rearrested. But he could apply for a temporary acquittal. K makes him stop before he reveals anything more frightening. The judges anticipate arrest. The ostensible acquittal leads to further arrests.

This being unsuitable for K. the painter then goes on to the subject of postponement. Postponement implies that there is no further progress in the trial. The case stagnates. It demands more vigilance, either the judge in charge has to be met with personally or the accused could meet other judges. But they would ultimately influence the concerned judge. He then goes to meet the concerned judge personally. There was also the danger of sudden arrest and mental strain. Postponement again had certain disadvantages. The accused would never be free. The case could run into litigation. The accused has to continue attending court. The audience could be a very small circle. He even says that the length of the trial does not make the case unpleasant. The interrogations were just an official routine. An appointment could be arranged with the judges leisurely. The accused needed to be constantly identified as such before the judge and keep the issue burning. K does not believe he will ever get an acquittal.

The painter wants to know Ks decision or else he is ready to proceed to the Bank. This would embarrass K. Kafka also calls the painter "the peddling painter". He sells 3 of his paintings of "heath scapes". The painter's bed opens directly into the passage leading to the law court offices.

Everything, including the studio belongs to the law court K. steps on the bed and is immediately in the law court office. Here he meets the second usher. He is completely exhausted and stumbles outside into the fresh air. The usher carries the paintings to his offices. He locks them up and gets rid of the usher before the Asst. Manager pops in with his prying eyes. K reaches his office travelling in a coach with the usher clamoring into the coachman's bus while K's uncle hails a taxi as they return from the lawyer's

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