Aaron Paul Houska
Kafka/Nietzsche Winter 08
Struggling With the Incomprehensible Void
, K. struggles with many forces, with the peasants, his as-
sistants, castle officials, and, in fact, most things in the village at some point.
nature of the struggle can be seen in two lights, one in light of Kafka’s aphorism 7,
that “one of the most effective means of seduction that evil has is the challenge to
In this sense, K. is challenged by circumstances to struggle to understand
the workings of the castle, and by struggling he only worsens his situation.
er light is Nietzsche’s
, which would cast his struggle as the struggle for
true willing, the path neccissarily endless for otherwise it would be mere wishing.
is struggling for himself in the sense of identity
To K., he is struggling to contact the
castle, to meet his employer and survey the land.
In this end, he struggles against
various villagers and castle officials, trying to make the necessary connections with
the castle so as to get there.
From a greater distance, however, the reader can see
that his struggle is in fact a struggle to exert his will in general, fighting to understand
the intrinsically senseless operations of the castle.
Perhaps subconsciously, he de-
sires this struggle, as he identifies it right from the start of the novel: “.
..On one hand,
this was unfavorable, for it shoes that the Castle had all necessary information about
him, had assessed the opposing forces, and was taking up the struggle with a smile”
(5). For K is invited (silently, by the castle) to struggle against the incomprehensibility
of the workings of the castle.
What he desires is of course impossible and he re-
peatedly fails due to his ignorance of the village and refusal to take most advice.