Before the Law

“Before the Law” is a short allegorical story written by Kafka for his unfinished novel The Trial. It is an important part of Kakfa’s work. Critics have different views about the story. They have come up with many interpretations of the story. The story is about a man who sends a request to enter the Law. He can see the door into the Law but is prevented by the doorkeeper from entering. The doorkeeper warns him that there are many doors and doorkeepers more unwelcoming and horrifying. The man however does not try and believes that eventually the doorkeeper will allow him to pass through the door.

The man believes that he can attain salvation only by entering the door. He asks questions and seeks permission to enter the door. He tries many different ways such as bribes and flattery. The doorkeeper accepts the bribes only because he does not want the man to think that he has overlooked anything. The man is still denied entry. As he becomes old and broken, he sees a bright light coming from the entrance. He asks the doorkeeper why other people have not tried to enter the gate. The doorkeeper replies that the gate has been made for him and that he will not shut (Before the Law).

The main waits his life to enter a place which was intended for him. He is someone who is always on the outside. He has a desire to know the secret of what others know. The Law is such an inspiration for him that he is willing to do anything to see what is on the other side of the door. He does not take any risks but instead chooses to wait. His end comes without him knowing what the other side was. If he had spent his time pursuing his own ideas he would have created his own gate. He would not have wasted his life for an ideal which was very far from him. He was equipped with unrealistic expectations of what lay beyond.

Franz Kafka suggests that the obstacles and hurdles faced by humanity can either be used to gain success or bring about failure. If a person can overcome any challenges than he can rise in a unique way. Each individual has a different perception of any situation. This unique growth emphasizes and creates character and perception of society. A failure to overcome hurdles results in lost dreams and aspirations. The man in the story cannot overcome his obstacles and is thus doomed to failure and defeat. The doorkeeper is the obstacle in the allegorical story. The man tries hard to get to the law.

But he cannot overcome the doorkeeper and enter the gate. The doorkeeper warns the man that there are more difficult and unwelcome doorkeepers for other doors. This means that life is full of difficulties and obstacles. Some of these obstacles are even more complicated and hard to enter. The man faces numerous difficulties which he has not perceived. The doorkeeper gives him a stool and he willingly sits on it. He fails to realize that if he had overcome the initial doorkeeper, he could have used his experience and skills in countering the other doorkeepers.

Knowledge must be acquired not by the man in the story but by everyone. The man cannot overcome the challenge of his life and fails in meeting the goals that he desires to accomplish. Overcoming initial obstacles allows people to face and solve other problems and difficulties. Everyone desires to succeed in life. For instance a college student has to continually meet challenge after challenge in order to achieve his goals. He studies in elementary school and than goes to high school. He moves to college. After that he will try to find career paths that would lead him to his success and completion of his goals.

The man unfortunately in the story sits on the stool and thinks that he will be granted entrance into the law just by waiting all his life. The man does not stand up and is weak that the doorkeeper takes advantage of him. The man soon loses sight of his original goal of entering the law. He focuses on the doorkeeper and even resorts to begging and flattery to attain his goals. The man cannot perceive that the gate was placed as an obstacle for his own self development. The lessons which he could have learned by pushing the doorkeeper would have enabled him to defeat the other doorkeepers.

He would have easily entered the other doors if he had gained the knowledge and skills he had used in the confrontation with the first doorkeeper. His end comes with despair and humiliation that he could not achieve his goal. He dies as an old man without ever knowing what was on the other side of the door. He does not live to see what the law is about. The doorkeeper in the conclusion of the story says that the gate was only meant for him and since he is now going to die, he will shut the door (Deinert). The story is highly related to our daily lives.

It emphasizes the importance of struggling and overcoming the hurdles and obstacles which we face in life. It also focuses on the concept of self help in which we should help ourselves in order to complete our goals and objectives. We should not hesitate or feel reluctant if we are faced with formidable obstacles. Humanity has the unique ability of achieving their dreams and aspirations. They can do almost anything however the criterion is that they must be ready to face the challenges in a bold and brave manner.

They must remain steadfast and use their knowledge to overcome any difficulties which they face. The world is not a bed of roses. It is a place where constant struggle and hard work pay off. Failure to do this results in our being humiliated and dying without accomplishing our goals and objectives. The author gives us a sense of sorrow towards the old man for not being able to achieve his wants and desires. Instead, we learn a valuable lesson in the story about the life one leads. One must be prepared to face the challenges that life present.

If one is able to overcome their challenges, they will grow from their experience and form their own unique personality. If one cannot overcome their obstacles, they may spend their life stuck in a rut of complacency, never achieving any goals or dreams that they once had. The poor old man from the country had to learn this important lesson out for himself.

Works Cited

Kafka, Franz. "Before the Law. " 29 Jan 2008 <http://www. mala. bc. ca/~johnstoi/kafka/beforethelaw. htm>. Deinert, Herbert. "KAFKA'S PARABLE BEFORE THE LAW. " 29 Jan 2008 <http://people. cornell. edu/pages/hd11/BeforeTheLaw. html>.