Franz Kafka Quotes (127 Quotes)


    Was he an animal, that music could move him so? He felt as if the way to the unknown nourishment he longed for were coming to light.

    What a fate: to be condemned to work for a firm where the slightest negligence at once gave rise to the gravest suspicion! Were all the employees nothing but a bunch of scoundrels, was there not among them one single loyal devoted man who, had he wasted only an hour or so of the firm's time in the morning, was so tormented by conscience as to be driven out of his mind and actually incapable of leaving his bed?



    I see, these books are probably law books, and it is an essential part of the justice dispensed here that you should be condemned not only in innocence but also in ignorance.


    It puzzled K., at least it puzzled him looking at it from the policemen's point of view, that they had made him go into the room and left him alone there, where he had ten different ways of killing himself. At the same time, though, he asked himself, this time looking at it from his own point of view, what reason he could have to do so. Because those two were sitting there in the next room and had taken his breakfast, perhaps?

    It would have been so pointless to kill himself that, even if he had wanted to, the pointlessness would have made him unable.

    It's only because of their stupidity that they're able to be so sure of themselves.

    It's sometimes quite astonishing that a single, average life is enough to encompass so much that it's at all possible ever to have any success in one's work here.

    Logic may indeed be unshakeable, but it cannot withstand a man who is determined to live.

    Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.

    If I didn't have my parents to think about I'd have given in my notice a long time ago, I'd have gone up to the boss and told him just what I think, tell him everything I would, let him know just what I feel. He'd fall right off his desk! And it's a funny sort of business to be sitting up there at your desk, talking down at your subordinates from up there, especially when you have to go right up close because the boss is hard of hearing.

    The right understanding of any matter and a misunderstanding of the same matter do not wholly exclude each other.

    If they were shocked, then Gregor had no further responsibility and could be calm. But if they took everything calmly, he he, too, had no reason to get excited and could, if he hurried, actually be at the station by eight o'clock.

    One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in his bed he had been changed into a monstrous bug…

    Over the table, on which an unpacked line of fabric samples was all spread out -- Samsa was a traveling salesman -- hung the picture which he had recently cut out of a glossy magazine and lodged in a pretty gilt frame. It showed a lady done up in a fur hat and a fur boa, sitting upright and raising up against the viewer a heavy fur muff in which her whole forearm had disappeared.

    The door could not be heard slamming; they had probably left it open, as is the custom in homes where a great misfortune has occurred.

    There they lay, but not in the forgetfulness of the previous night. She was seeking and he was seeking, they raged and contorted their faces and bored their heads into each others bosom in the urgency of seeking something, and their embraces and their tossing limbs did not avail to make them forget, but only reminded them of what they sought

    As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.

    But Gregor understood easily that it was not only consideration for him which prevented their moving, for he could easily have been transported in a suitable crate with a few air holes; what mainly prevented the family from moving was their complete hopelessness and the thought that they had been struck by a misfortune as none of their relatives and acquaintances had ever been hit.

    He thought back on his family with deep emotion and love. His conviction that he would have to disappear was, if possible, even firmer than his sister's. He remained in this state of empty and peaceful reflection until the tower clock struck three in the morning. He still saw that outside the window everything was beginning to grow light. Then, without his consent, his head sank down to the floor, and from his nostrils streamed his last weak breath.


    His biggest misgiving came from his concern about the loud crash that was bound to occur and would probably create, if not terror, at least anxiety behind all the doors. But that would have to be risked.

    There is nothing besides a spiritual world; what we call the world of the senses is the Evil in the spiritual world, and what we call Evil is only the necessity of a moment in our eternal evolution.

    It is often safer to be in chains than to be free.

    My "fear" is my substance, and probably the best part of me.

    If I shall exist eternally, how shall I exist tomorrow?


    You may object that it is not a trial at all you are quite right, for it is only a trial if I recognize it as such.

    Self-control means wanting to be effective at some random point in the infinite radiations of my spiritual existence.

    From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.

    Everything you say is boring and incomprehensible, she said, but that alone doesn't make it true

    Believing in progress does not mean believing that any progress has yet been made.

    I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy.

    This inescapable duty to observe oneself if someone else is observing me, naturally I have to observe myself too if none observe me, I have to observe myself all the closer

    Sensual love deceives one as to the nature of heavenly love; it could not do so alone, but since it unconsciously has the element of heavenly love within it, it can do so.

    Association with human beings lures one into self-observation.

    A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us.

    The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual. That is why the revolutionary spiritual movements that declare all former things worthless are in the right, for nothing has yet happened.

    A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul.

    By imposing too great a responsibility, or rather, all responsibility, on yourself, you crush yourself.

    Don Quixote's misfortune is not his imagination, but Sancho Panza.

    The experience of life consists of the experience which the spirit has of itself in matter and as matter, in mind and as mind, in emotion, as emotion, etc.

    I do not read advertisements. I would spend all of my time wanting things.

    Let me remind you of the old maxim: people under suspicion are better moving than at rest, since at rest they may be sitting in the balance without knowing it, being weighed together with their sins.

    The relationship to one's fellow man is the relationship of prayer, the relationship to oneself is the relationship of striving; it is from prayer that one draws the strength for one's striving.

    Isnt it obvious that a person would leave from where he is hated so much The heroism of staying in such a place is that of a roach which wont be exterminated from the bathroom.

    The history of mankind is the instant between two strides taken by a traveler.

    By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.

    God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them.


    More Franz Kafka Quotations (Based on Topics)


    World - Life - Wisdom & Knowledge - Time - Books - Nature - Night - Morning - Good & Evil - Love - Mind - Listening - Facts - Beauty - Mankind - Truth - Place - Suffering - Soul - View All Franz Kafka Quotations

    More Franz Kafka Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - The Castle
    - The Metamorphosis
    - The Trial

    Related Authors


    V. S. Naipaul - Robertson Davies - Robert Ludlum - Maxim Gorky - Louisa May Alcott - Katherine Dunn - James Clavell - J. D. Salinger - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Amy Tan


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