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Joseph K, a young bank clerk, is awakened by a police inspector and two detectives who place him under arrest. Although he has committed no crime and has no idea of the charges, he finds himself being discussed and scorned by his neighbors, all of whom seem to know the details of his case. Eventually K is led through a labyrinth of corridors and taken before an examining magistrate, but he still cannot learn why he is under suspicion. His uncle, who somehow knows about his forthcoming trial, takes him to a bedridden advocate, Hastler, who agrees to act as his defense attorney. While the advocate rambles on about legal problems, K allows himself to be seduced by the man's nurse and mistress, Leni, a nymphomaniac irresistibly drawn to condemned men. After dismissing the advocate because of his delay in getting on with the case, K encounters a priest who tells him an allegorical tale of a man who waited all his life at the door of The Law but died without gaining admittance. Then, early one morning, K is accosted by two executioners who lead him to a quarry at the edge of town. When he defiantly maintains his innocence and laughs hysterically at his tormentors, they toss two sticks of dynamite into the pit. Following the explosion, a tiny cloud rises from the quarry.