In The Penal Colony Analysis

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In the Penal Colony by Franz Kafka demonstrates a symbiotic relationship between the law and technology. Although technology and law may seem like two completely different topics, Kafka does a brilliant job of exemplifying the dependent nature of both subjects. At a quick glance, it may seem like the two do not have any type of relationship in the story. However, as the reader delves deeper into the true meaning behind Kafka’s words and intentions, the true nature of the relationship is revealed. Kafka shows that in In the Penal Colony, however complicated and advanced technology may be, without a just law, the technology will prove to be ineffective and will come crumbling down.
The law in Kafka’s story, comes off as very unfair and unjust. “’Does he know his sentence?’ … ‘No’ … ‘He doesn’t know the sentence that has been passed on him?’ ‘No’” (Page 144-145). The condemned man was not allowed to know neither his sentence nor if he has been sentenced. The man was sentenced to death with even a trial to defend himself. “This is my guiding principle: Guilt is never to be doubted.” (Page 145). This showed how inhumane the law was in the penal colony. People weren’t allowed their rights to a fair trial and were sentenced to death even for petty crimes. The condemned man’s sentence wasn’t worthy of a death sentence, yet the officer follows the law set by his old Commandant and sets him
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On the surface, it looks like the apparatus just broke down because it’s old and the law being removed due to it being outdated. However, the deeper meaning shows that technology and law are dependent on each other. Without the old Commandant’s law, his apparatus cannot continue to exist because it was solely made on the basis of that law. And without the apparatus, the law cannot exist because there would be no machine to carry out the unrighteous sentences that were given to
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