The Uncertain "He": Navigating the Labyrinth of Identity in "The Trial" with Anaphoric Ambiguity


  • Rewaa Ahmed Anwer


Anaphoric ambiguity, Human psyche, narrative technique, stylistic elements, Kafkaesque.


The exploration of ambiguity within literature often unveils intricate layers of meaning and challenges conventional linguistic structures. The present paper investigates the phenomenon of anaphoric ambiguity in Franz Kafka's novel, "The Trial." By focusing on the intricate web of pronoun references and their elusive antecedents, this study aims to unravel the intentional confusion that pervades Kafka's narrative. The abstract nature of Kafka's writing, combined with his adept manipulation of anaphora, contributes to a surreal and disorienting atmosphere that blurs the boundaries between reality and dream. Through a comprehensive analysis of selected passages, this paper highlights instances where pronoun references lack clear antecedents, intensifying the overarching sense of bewilderment experienced by both the characters and the readers. By examining the syntactic, semantic, and narrative implications of this linguistic choice, this study seeks to illuminate how anaphoric ambiguity serves as a crucial stylistic element in conveying the novel's themes of alienation, bureaucracy, and existential absurdity. Ultimately, the study not only enriches our understanding of Kafka's unique narrative technique but also contributes to the broader discourse on linguistic ambiguity and its role in shaping literary experiences.




How to Cite

Rewaa Ahmed Anwer. (2024). The Uncertain "He": Navigating the Labyrinth of Identity in "The Trial" with Anaphoric Ambiguity. Onomázein, (63 (2024): March), 149–159. Retrieved from