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            Franz Kafka's parable "Before the Law," in context of the chapter of which it is contained, relates the entire human quest for truth to the protagonist of "The Trial." Although parables ostensibly teach some moral lesson, Joseph K is blind to the message which the priest relays. The parable is left open for numerous interpretations as the priest implies himself, however, K concludes that the "Law" is based on a premises of deceit that has been made into the truth.
             The isolated, desolate, and estranged setting that is evident in the parable is similar to both the atmosphere of the cathedral, itself, and Kafka's environment set up in the "The Trial." The parable relates the story of a man who desires entrance to what is referred to as "the Law." He is denied. He waits patiently for the remainder of his life for permission that is never granted. Although the story is rather simple, it bounces between the realm of reality and qualities of a dreamlike world, that neither the reader nor K, can fully identify with. There is a presence of an eternity of entrances and gatekeepers, where, after the battle to enter one ends, the war to gain access to another begins.
             The cathedral, normally a sanction of safe haven, is depicted as cold, dark, and empty. Similarly, the priest, normally a person of God, declares that he is the prison chaplain, and stated that he had brought Joseph to the Cathedral to speak with him.(212) K, who believed he was meeting a business man, fails to see the peculiar deception of the situation. The cathedral is represented to model a sort of prison cell, and when instead of giving a sermon, as K was expecting, the priest relays a text of the "Law." The priest explains to K that "Perhaps you don't know the sort of court your serve,"(214) and screams down "Can't you see two steps in front of you?"(214) It seems evident now, that the priest, as everything Kafka has encountered, belongs to the state as well.

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