Literary Quotations
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THE TRIAL

by: Franz Kafka


The right understanding of any matter and a misunderstanding of the same matter do not wholly exclude each other.

He was always inclined to take life as lightly as he could, to cross bridges when he came to them, pay no heed for the future, even when everything seemed under threat. But here that did not seem the right thing to do.

It's only because of their stupidity that they're able to be so sure of themselves.

This question of yours, Sir, about my being a house painter — or rather, not a question, you simply made a statement — is typical of the whole character of this trial that is being foisted on me. You may object that it is not a trial at all; you are quite right, for it is only a trial if I recognize it as such. But for the moment I do recognize it, on grounds of compassion, as it were. One can't regard it except with compassion, if one is to regard it at all. I do not say that your procedure is contemptible, but I should like to present that epithet to you for your private consumption.

I don't know this law.... It probably exists only in your heads.

K was pleased at the tension among all the people there as they listened to him, a rustling rose from the silence which was more invigorating than the most ecstatic applause could have been.

How are we to avoid those in office becoming deeply corrupt when everything is devoid of meaning? That is impossible, not even the highest judge would be able to achieve that for himself. That is why policemen try to steal the clothes off the back of those they arrest, that is why supervisors break into the homes of people they do not know, that is why innocent people are humiliated in front of crowds rather than being given a proper trial.

For of course the fact of being accused makes no alteration in a man's appearance that is immediately obvious.

I like to make use of what I know.

I have to fight against countless subtleties in which the Court indulges. And in the end, out of nothing at all, an enormous fabric of guilt will be conjured up.

Logic may indeed be unshakeable, but it cannot withstand a man who is determined to live.

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