Corresponding to Kafka's vision of an all-encompassing but indifferent society in The Trial is the individual's intense feelings of isolation, alienation, and anxiety. The court stands in for a society that insists on conformity at all costs, and the individual is guilty simply for being an individual. The whole idea of a defense in this context is paradoxical. The purpose of a defense is to give the individual an opportunity to defend his innocence, but to defend his innocence is to assert himself. And to assert himself, to defend himself and his actions vocally, is by nature criminal in a society that just wants the individual to shut up and blend in. As the novel shows through its depiction of the main character and other defendants, the court infiltrates all aspects of a defendant's life. The experience of a trial leads to an all-pervasive self-consciousness on the part of the defendant accompanied by feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and paranoia.
K.'s experiences of alienation during his trial only confirms the asocial tendencies that he had before his trial.
Paradoxically, K. experiences both extreme conceit and extreme shame during the course of his trial; these wild fluctuations in mood reflect his basic insecurity.