Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #10

K. knew clearly now that it was his duty to seize the knife as it floated from hand to hand above him and plunge it into itself. But he didn't do so […] He could not rise entirely to the occasion, he could not relieve the authorities of all their work; the responsibility for this final failure lay with whoever had denied him the remnant of strength necessary to do so. (10.9)

As with Quote #5, K. arrives at an astonishing insight – he's supposed to be the one to kill himself. And as with Quote #5, this insight doesn't come through careful thought, but in a moment of exhaustion. Instead of doing something active, like running away from the guards, K.'s resistance consists in passively refusing to submit to this one final demand on the part of the courts. This passage is doubly ironic when we consider that K. did actually consider suicide in Chapter 1, but immediately rejected the idea as "irrationality" (1.4).

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