Santalka: Filosofija, Komunikacija 25 (1):123-134 (2017)

The parable “Before the Law” is a pivotal text in the work of Franz Kafka. It tells of a man who looks for the law as the quintessence of his life. But his quest for meaning comes to a crisis because of a fundamental deception. Instead of interpreting the law as a personal mystery, he somehow objectifies it. His abstract view on life begets the obstacle-character that embodies all those who could bar him from finding the law. In this narrative, the failure of finding the law results in a murder in which human life is reduced to bestial death. In this sense, Kafka’s narrative is a tale of anti-creation. In a close reading we analyze the text with attention for the ternary structure, i.e. the intertwined complex of the I-Thou relation and the I-It relation. The literary text is interpreted for its philosophical relevance. Franz Rosenzweig and Emmanuel Levinas but also Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida have an important role in this way of reading.
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DOI 10.3846/cpc.2017.288
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