the short story project

Before the Law

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Before the Law by Franz Kafka

This classic text by Franz Kafka, which is also included in the renowned novel, The Trial, leaves one reality and leaps into another: In “Before the Law,” in mere few sentences, the abstract notion of the law becomes a place in the actual world. “The law should always be accessible for everyone,” says the man from the country, and then finds that this is certainly not the case; there are the ones who keep the law, and therefore there are the ones who will be kept out of it – to become “illegal”. This rather short, definitely rich text offers more (its surprising ending, for instance). As Orson Welles, who adapted the English version of the text into radio, said: “It has been said that the logic of this story is the logic of a dream – of a nightmare.” And in the actual world, this may always be up ahead.