by Franz Kafka
The Trial Power Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph). We used Breon Mitchell's translation.
"Judges on the lowest level, and those are the only ones I know, don't have the power to grant a final acquittal, that power resides only in the highest court, which is totally inaccessible to you and me and everyone else. We don't want to know what things look like up there, and incidentally, we don't want to know." (7.28)
According to Titorelli the painter, the court bureaucracy is set up in such a way that real authority rests in the hands of a few, "the highest court," who are beyond the reach of ordinary people.
When a group occasionally begin to believe they share some common interest, it soon proves a delusion. Group action is entirely ineffective against the court. (8.4)
Since the court is a closed system that operates on its own rules, and since the court's power is so absolute, it is effective at rebuffing any effort from outsiders – including ambitious defendants – to penetrate its mysteries.
This lawyer and his colleagues are only petty lawyers, however; the great lawyers, whom I've merely heard of but never seen, stand incomparatively higher in rank above the petty lawyers than those do over the despised shysters. (8.4)
Like the highest court, the "great lawyers," the lawyers who have the power to get things done, are inaccessible to ordinary people.