Franz Kafka’s works have been studied by literary scholars and students since the
posthumous publication of his literature. Often noted for their absurd and fantastical elements, Kafka’s short stories and novels present protagonists who undergo extreme experiences of suffering and death. Through a Marxist reading of his works, suffering is revealed as a product of a capitalist society and its alienation of individuals. In addition, through analyzing Kafka’s religious symbolism and motifs, his protagonists act as foils to Jesus Christ, whose passion and death is perhaps the most widely recognized and celebrated story of suffering. Finally, Kafka’s characters often exhibit the ideals of existentialism, the rejection of organized systems such as government and religion in favor of an introspective existence and an acceptance of suffering and death. Through these perspectives, Kafka explores the different
meanings that can be derived from suffering.