Joseph K. is arrested one morning, apparently victim of a slander.
An obvious example are those readings of the novel that suppose Joseph K's guilt and therefore the legitimacy of his condemnation.
other readers, more attentive, acknowledge that there is nothing in the novel that suggests the main character's guilt, but argue that in the chapters which Kafka did not have the time to write there would be, without doubt, "the explanation of Joseph K's fault, or at least of the reasons for the trial." (2) Well, one can speculate ad libidum on what Kafka would have, or should have, written but in the manuscript as it exists, one of the strong ideas of the text is precisely the absence of any "explanation of the reasons for the trial," as well as the obstinate refusal of all the concerned instances--policemen, magistrates, Courts, executioners--to give one.
All the attempts by various interpreters to make Joseph K. guilty of something inevitably hurt against the first phrase of the novel, which simply states: " Jemand musste Joseph K.
It is true that Joseph K.'s arrest seems to be the result of a "slander"--a term which seems to have some analogy to the accusations of "ritual murder." However, the issue of the slander is not pursued in the novel.
unlike the victims of the anti-semitic trial, which were either acquitted (Dreyfus, the Tisza-Jews, Beiliss) or at least escaped capital punishment (Hilsner), Francisco Ferrer was "legally" executed, and thus has a significant common trait with Joseph K. But otherwise there isn't much similarity between their stories.
Joseph K.'s first reaction to the threat is resistance, (individual) rebellion: he denounces, protests and voices, with sarcasm and irony, his contempt for the institution that is supposed to judge him.
If Huld would have asked him to crawl under the bed like in a kennel and bark, he would have done it with joy." (22) Joseph K., on the contrary, keeps his dignity and refuses to submit to those "above."
By proclaiming, throughout the novel, his innocence, Joseph K. is not lying, but expressing an intimate conviction.