"No one else could ever be admitted here, since this gate was made only for you. I am now going to shut it."

from Franz Kafka – Before the Law on Rap Genius

Meaning

Every man is an island / lives alone / dies alone…

A parable generally represents a universal truth. In this case the parable draws our attention to an all-consuming search in a person’s life. This raises philosophical and religious questions. However, Kafka uses “law” as the thing to which people aspire. What does it mean that the door to the law was opened only for one individual? On the one hand this could suggest a legal system that is tailored to the individual’s needs. On the other hand, the individual nature of the law in this case seems nightmarish and stymieing. As in so many of Kafka’s works — “the Trial,” for instance — there is a fundamental disconnect between law and justice, echoes of which can be detected here.

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