What elements of existentialism are in The Trial?

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The most important element of existentialism to be found in The Trial is the utter absurdity of human existence.

Here we have a situation in which Josef K. has been arrested and put before a court and yet hasn't even been told what crime he's supposed to have committed. This is a very graphic illustration of the absurdity that existentialists tended to regard as the most fundamental aspect of life.

A further aspect of existentialism present in The Trial—or atheistic existentialism, to be precise—is the loneliness and isolation of man in a godless universe. Josef K. is all alone as he faces the nightmarish situation in which he finds himself. Forced back on his own resources, he must somehow get through this terrifying ordeal by himself.

The world depicted in the book is utterly devoid of rhyme or reason. This is exactly how we'd expect a world in which there is no God to look. And it is exactly the kind of world that existentialists tend to believe is the one in which we live; the only one that exists.

That being the case, we're all like Josef K. in some respects, as we desperately try to impose some kind of meaning on a world that, devoid of God, is without any meaning of its own.

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