Before the Law

Essay by sgdragonslayerUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, June 2004

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Before the Law

In Before the Law, a man from the country asks for permission to enter the Law. He can see through the open door into the Law, but the doorkeeper rejects him entry. The man is then warned that while this is only the first of many doors and doorkeepers, each more unwelcoming and horrifying than the last, he is welcome to try to pass him. The man declines, thinking that eventually the doorkeeper will grant him admittance. Because the man is certain that his salvation lies within the Law, year after year, he comes to the door, asking and answering questions, seeking permission to enter. He even tries to bribe or flatter his way in. The doorkeeper takes the bribes, only so that the man will not think the doorkeeper has overlooked anything. Still he is refused entry into the Law. Finally, as the broken, old man lay dying, he sees a radiance emanating from the entrance.

He thinks of a question he has never asked and summons the doorkeeper closer to him to hear it. "Why in all these years has no one else come to this gate?" he asks. "No one else could ever be admitted here, since this gate was made only for you. I am now going to shut it.", replies the doorkeeper.

A man, who waits his entire life to enter a domain intended just for him, seems like someone who is always "on the outside." He longs to know the secret of what he thinks everyone else knows. It reminds one of the saying, "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." Whatever the Law may or may not be, it possesses such an ideal for him that he is willing to waste his entire...