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The Trial

Franz Kafka

Characters

Summary

Chapter 1

Joseph K.  -  The hero and protagonist of the novel, K. is the Chief Clerk of a bank. Ambitious, shrewd, more competent than kind, he is on the fast track to success until he is arrested one morning for no reason. There begins his slide into desperation as he tries to grapple with an all-powerful Court and an invisible Law.
Fraulein Burstner -  A boarder in the same house as Joseph K. She lets him kiss her one night, but then rebuffs his advances. She makes a brief reappearance in the novel's final pages.
Frau Grubach -  The proprietress of the lodging house in which K. lives. She holds K. in high esteem.
Uncle Karl -  K.'s impetuous uncle from the country, formerly his guardian. Karl insists that K. hire Huld, the lawyer.
Huld, the Lawyer  -  K.'s fustian advocate who provides precious little in the way of action and far too much in the way of anecdote.
Leni -  Herr Huld's nurse, she's on fire for Joseph K. She soon becomes his lover. Apparently, she finds accused men extremely attractive--the fact of their indictment makes them irresistible to her.
Assistant Manager -  K.'s unctuous rival at the Bank, only too willing to catch K. in a compromising situation.
Block, the Tradesman  -  Block is another accused man and client of Huld. His case is five year's old, and he is but a shadow of the prosperous man he once was. All his time, energy, and resources are now devoted to his case. Although he has hired hack lawyers on the side, he is completely and pathetically subservient to Huld.
Titorelli, the Painter  -  Titorelli inherited the position of Court Painter from his father. He knows a great deal about the comings and goings of the Court's lowest level. He offers to help K., and manages to unload a few identical landscape paintings on the accused man. If the novel had been finished, we might have heard more from Titorelli.

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