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The Trial

The Trial


by Franz Kafka

The Trial Chapter 10 Summary

The End

  • It's 9pm. It's K.'s 31st birthday. He's all dressed up.
  • Two elegantly dressed gentlemen show up in top hats. But, while they are extremely polite, they're not here to celebrate K.'s birthday. (And you thought there was nothing worse than having a clown smelling vaguely of cigarettes making balloon animals at your birthday party, right?)
  • They escort K. out of his lodgings, one on each side of him, in a tight formation. He tries to talk to them, but they're generally silent. K. stops and refuses to move.
  • Then he sees a woman coming down the stairs, a woman who may or may not be Fraulein Bürstner. K. decides resistance is futile. The gentlemen amiably allow him to choose the direction that they're walking, so K. decides to follow the woman for a while.
  • They walk through a park, passing some policemen on the way whom, oddly, they avoid.
  • They finally make it out of the city, and the scene becomes much more rural.
  • They end up at a stone quarry. K. takes off his jacket and his shirt. Topless, he follows the gentlemen to a block of stone, where they position him against it.
  • One gentleman pulls out a thin, double-edged butcher knife, and they take turns passing the knife back and forth to each other. K. somehow realizes from this charade that he's supposed to take the knife and kill himself. But he decides not to.
  • K. makes out a house next to the quarry. Someone throws open the window, and stretches their arms out of the window. K. makes a similar gesture.
  • But one man already has K. by the throat, and the other stabs him in the heart. K.'s last vision is of the two men's faces peering closely at him.

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