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.
"The final verdicts of the court are not published, and not even the judges have access to them; thus only legends remain about ancient court cases […] Nevertheless they shouldn't be entirely ignored; they surely contain a certain degree of truth, and they are very beautiful; I myself have painted a few pictures based on such legends." (7.28)
This quote, like Quote #5, emphasizes how divorced the courts are from actual existence. The only information available about court cases come from such a very distant past that they've dissolved into "ancient" myths.
"Both methods have this in common: they prevent the accused from being convicted." "But they also prevent an actual acquittal," said K. softly, as if ashamed of the realization. (7.28)
As K. gradually accepts in the course of the novel, acquittal is impossible: you are always guilty before the Law. All you can do is submit yourself to the Law and postpone your eventual sentence for as long as possible. Unlike Block the merchant, who was able to postpone his sentence for years on end, K. only lasts out the year.
"But if you think you're privileged because you're allowed to sit here quietly and listen while I, as you put it, crawl around on all fours, then let me remind you of the old legal maxim: a suspect is better off moving than at rest, for one at rest may be on the scales without knowing it, being weighed with all his sins." (8.10)
Block states the basic truth about the courts that Titorelli offered up in Quote #8 above. Acquittal's impossible; indefinite postponement is the game. Block's entire life is taken up by his own defense. K.'s life, on the other hand, isn't. When his executioners arrive in Chapter 10, he is indeed at rest, expecting different guests and ready for his birthday party. K.'s refusal to have the court take over his entire life results in his own demise.