The man tries to seek the law to fulfill his desire of pursuing knowledge and access to the law to comprehend what it entails and get admittance. The law, in this case, represents the physical space that lies beyond the doorway being guarded, and the man needs to surpass the gate to access it (Leung, 2013). Although the man’s logic of seeking the law is logic, its setting is not all identical to reality. The law represents several possible interpretations with no means of knowing which one is correct, so obstacles are placed to keep it hidden from the man.
There is a gatekeeper who restricts the man from entering the door. He challenges the man to look through to the law but warns him that if he tries to get past him, he is powerful enough to stop him (Leung, 2013). Besides, he states that there are more powerful doorkeepers beyond him. Although, the law the fact the law is made for everyone, understanding the legal system is too complex.
The time to enter the gate was dependent on the man’s choices. The doorkeeper wants the man to unfold that mystery himself and that the reason he accepts bribes is to keep the man thinking that he has left one approach untried. The guard is the gatekeeper who sits in front of the law. He represents the physical barrier guiding the law and preventing the man from the country’s immediate access.
The man never gives up as he holds to the promise that maybe it will be possible for him to enter one day, although it is not guaranteed (Leung, 2013). He tries to bribe his way in and feels that he will later access the door by perseverance.
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The man decides to pursue his desire to understand the law. However, he does not expect to run into any significant trouble. He learns that he cannot gain admission to the place of his desire at that moment. It is surprising that instead of asking the question of the reason why he is denied permission, his question is if perhaps he will be allowed to enter the door later (Fleming, 1978). The man is from the country, and he assumes that this is a fatal way of giving him the advantage to his initiative. Instead of insisting on clarifying the critical item of the cause of denial to access the door, he yields that pressure does not manifest itself as such (Leung, 2013). The question if he will be allowed vague as it reinforces his already strong hesitant to act or take any responsibility. He is intimidated by the gatekeeper’s word that he is “powerful” and “only the lowest doorkeeper,” which deters him from further asking questions and trying to enter (Leung, 2013). His fixation is irrelevant details about the gatekeeper mount with time, thus rendering him incapable of acting on his own. The gatekeeper is not described as inhuman and offers him a chair by the entrance, there is where he spent the better part of his life.
The story is both absurd and existential. The man’s effort to understand the fullness of law is futile; whatever he desires escapes him as he permits himself to be distracted. The man is not given access to the law and is something that should be accessible to everyone and anyone. The man is challenged to try and get past the gatekeeper to the law. The man gives up his possessions to win over the gatekeeper but fails (Deinert, 1964). Although the set goal is not met, the man put all their effort so that they may not feel like failures because they have put the effort that was possible. People can do everything in their power but fail anyway. It is the man’s fate to fight a battle that he cannot possibly win.
According to Kafka, humanity is the single trait that distinguishes them as human beings. When humanity is taken away from a human, others no longer regard that person as human since they lack individuality and human characteristics.
Deinert, H. (1964). KAFKA’S PARABLE BEFORE THE LAW. Courses.cit.cornell.edu. Retrieved 24 April 2022, from https://courses.cit.cornell.edu/hd11/BeforeTheLaw.html.
Fleming, V. (1978). Before the Law: An Analysis for the Legal Profession. Lawrepository.ualr.edu. Retrieved 24 April 2022, from https://lawrepository.ualr.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1353&context=lawreview.
Leung, K. (2013). Franz Kafka’s Before the Law. Kayla Leung. Retrieved 24 April 2022, from https://itspossiblelab.com/2016/05/16/kafkas-before-the-law/.