The Trial (1962) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Josef K wakes up in the morning and finds the police in his room. They tell him that he is on trial but nobody tells him what he is accused of. In order to find out about the reason of this accusation and to protest his innocence, he tries to look behind the facade of the judicial system. But since this remains fruitless, there seems to be no chance for him to escape from this Kafkaesque nightmare.

  • Josef K. works as a departmental assistant manager for a large company, where the office workers are generally indistinguishable small cogs in a big machine. One early morning in the rooming house where he lives, he is awoken by three men who barge into his room and place him under arrest, although the leader, the inspector, neither discloses if they are the police or with what he is being charged. He is not taken into custody, at this stage he to continue with his day-to-day routine, with his trips to the interrogation commission, which will determine his guilt or innocence, to be the only deviation from his routine. Initially, he believes his company may have something to do with the charge as the three men are accompanied by three of his coworkers. He also initially believes it may have something to do with his rooming house neighbor, exotic nightclub dancer Miss Burstner, as the inspector came through Miss Burstner's room and his three coworkers are rummaging through her room. He does not want her to think badly of him as he secretly desires her. Eventually, his uncle finds out about his predicament and uses his influence to hire Mr. Hastler, an influential advocate to represent him. Through the proceedings, some people offer Mr. K. their assistance, three being women who may have different influence on the proceedings. Those three are: Leni, the advocate's mistress; Hilda, the wife of one of the commission's guards; and Irmie, his sixteen year old cousin. Mr. K. has to decide how best to proceed, including if any of these people indeed are looking out for his best interest.

  • Unexpectedly and utterly irrationally, quiet and unassuming bureaucrat Josef K wakes up abruptly in the morning to the inexplicable and shocking sight of a suspicious high-ranking police inspector staring at him. Moreover, dumbfounded Josef will find himself under arrest charged with an abstract accusation and his room filled with strange men. Who is behind his arrest, and most of all, what is Josef's crime? Either way, even though the law should be accessible to anyone, instead, hapless Josef is gradually devoured by an inhumane, sluggish and faceless system, trapped in the logic of an absolutely vile Kafkaesque nightmare and the certainty that he is bound to be found guilty. Soon, crashed and depressed, Josef reduced to a mere fraction of his existence, he will question his sanity abandoning any hope getting out of the clutches of the prejudiced and loathsome system.

  • An unassuming office worker is arrested and stands trial, but he is never made aware of his charges.


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