by Franz Kafka
The Trial Justice and Judgment Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph). We used Breon Mitchell's translation.
"[Y]ou can't defend yourself against this court, all you can do is confess. Confess the first chance you get. That's the only chance you have to escape, the only one. However, even that is impossible without help from others, but you needn't worry about that, I'll help you myself." (6.3)
It could be because of the Law's general disregard for the individual case that any progress, such as it is, that is made in an individual case depends on group or collective action. Thus K. relies on the help of his female friends, his lawyer, Huld, the painter, Titorelli, and even the random prison chaplain to make his case. If anything, the trial turns K., an independent bank executive free of any ties, into someone who is actually dependent on other people.
Here the disadvantage of a court system that was grounded from its very beginnings in secrecy came to the fore […] because [the officials are] constantly constricted by the Law both night and day, they have no proper understanding of human relationships, and in such cases they feel that lack keenly. Then they come to the lawyer for advice. (7.2)
This passage is part of Huld's justification for why K. needs his services even though, as a lawyer, Huld can't really do anything. The gist of the passage above seems to suggest that any influence Huld has is outside the courts, through the friendships he develops with lonely, asocial judges.
Progress had always been made, but the nature of this progress could never be specified. (7.2)
Here is the crux of K.'s dissatisfaction with Huld, and with his trial in general. But as K. discovers, particularly in his conversations with Titorelli the painter in Chapter 7, real progress toward an actual acquittal is impossible in a court system where everyone is always guilty (see Quote #8 below).