Study Guide

Franz and Willem in The Trial

By Franz Kafka

Franz and Willem

Franz and Willem are the two guards who arrest K. in his bedroom on the fateful morning his trial begins. They're the lowest of the court functionaries, so low that they don't even know what K.'s charges are – but neither does anybody else in the court system. The guards are K.'s first exposure to the way the court bureaucracy works, where those at the bottom of the court hierarchy merely do their jobs without question, and only those at the inaccessible top of the hierarchy really control what goes on. The guards don't seem particularly intimidating; they even offer to protect his underwear from other thieving guards, which is probably the least of K.'s worries. But later, they get whipped in a junk closet at K.'s bank after K. complains about their behavior at his initial court inquiry.

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