Frank Kafka's "Before the Law" is a parable that explains the effects that law and decisions have on our lives. Law is represented as something unattainable The man has to pass through many gates to get to it, each one guarded by a more terrifying guard. The man tries his entire life just trying to get past the first gate, but in the end he fails. The reason for this is his decision never to venture past the guard. When he is dying, the guard tells him that the gate was made specifically for him and that he is the only one who could have ever entered it. What this is saying about our lives is that the choices we make will open and shut doors of opportunity in our lives. Sometimes, the decisions we make cause us to miss a great opportunity, as is the case for the man in the story. If he had chosen to go through the gate rather than wait for the guard, he could have been able to experience the glory he saw in the law. However, his decision to stay at the gate cost him that chance.

    I believe Kafka uses this parable to make his point because it is something easy for all of us to understand. We have all been presented with open "gates" whether literal or not, and we have all had to choose whether to enter them or not. Decisions make up our lives and shape us into who we become.
    Decisions also play a large part in SophoclesAntigone. The title character makes a decision that causes her to lose the opportunity of life. When Antigone chooses to defy the law and bury her brother, she gives up her chance to live a long life with her fiancé Haimon. This decision causes tragedy in the play by leading to multiple deaths.
    What I took away from this parable, especially by relating it to Antigone, was that the decisions we make, especially concerning the law, greatly impact our lives. The man in the story chooses to wait to reach the law and never reaches it, while Antigone chooses to break the law and in turn forfeit her future. For us, choosing to obey or break any law, whether set by our society or by our own morality, causes great impact in our lives. We could suffer cruel consequences, or (even more tragically) find that we missed out because we made the wrong choice.

Andy Schoenborn
11/24/2012 10:50:34 pm

Hi Ian,

I like that this post considers the parable in relation to Antigone as you synthesize your developing perspective.


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