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What makes something "Kafkaesque"? – Noah Tavlin

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The term Kafkaesque has entered the vernacular to describe unnecessarily complicated and frustrating experiences, especially with bureaucracy. But does standing in a long line to fill out confusing paperwork really capture the richness of Kafka’s vision? Beyond the word’s casual use, what makes something “Kafkaesque”? Noah Tavlin explains.

Lesson by Noah Tavlin, animation by TED-Ed.


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  1. So, there's always something to be learned even when it's not immediately clear what!

  2. Q: What do you regard as most humane?
    A: To spare someone shame.

    Q: What is the mark of liberation?
    A: aNo longer being ashamed in front of oneself.

  3. Here cuz breaking bad

  4. "that's Kafkaesque yo"

  5. Kafkaesque brought me here

  6. Man, i have to say, it is a brilliant way of explaining the term! Thanks a lot!

  7. that was…

  8. Thank you so much TedEd. I have the same idea about this but I can't put it on words. This gives me a lot of realization.

  9. Dude I love his voice so much it's so soothing

  10. “WHO IS KAFKA?! TELL ME!!!”

  11. So you write some randomness on a book then you get famous for it? Or even in Arts, Film. At least that is what I understand.

  12. stumbled upon this, loved it

  13. Wow, I understood that, although frighteningly so.

  14. China and North Korea is Orwellian greatest dream and nightmare but my country Vietnam is a living joke of Kafkaesque. In china and North Korea you can't criticize the government, but if you go to Vietnam almost all Vietnamese made fun of our government including the stupiest blame the bureaucrats, while the Vietnam government blame the education, the education system blame the parents for students falling grades, the parents blame the businessman for expensive schools, the businessman blame the society for the misbehaviour and again the Vietnamese society blame the police state. In my city Saigon the bureaucrats stupidity caused pollution and literally no free space in our streets thats why there's always traffic tram, and our police forces cause more destruction than keeping order, we sometime compare them to Mr.Bean rather than Charlie Chaplin, our society It's like Terry Gilliam "Brazil" with dark depression comedy plus cold hearted stares, no tears and no drama.

  15. I cried when I was reading Metamorphosis. Kafka was great!

  16. I prefer the term Byzantine.
    Then I hum "Istanbul, Not Constantinople"

  17. Geese what a kafkaesque concept to wrap around.

  18. I feel like I am currently having a kafkaesque life. I was living abroad, and sent a package with some of my belongings home before I left to return home. Then I never received any notification that I it had arrived, and I could not find the tracking code, so it is technically my fault that I never picked it up. So the package was returned. Then I managed to resend it. I have now spend 200 pounds for this. I have been tracking the package, and while it was in my country, it has now been send to a transit-country, after being in import in my country for a week. So I called Customs, they send me the the Post. The Post send me to Japan Post, which I cannot contact because of language and time zones. So now my package seems to be on it's way back to Japan, but I cant find any information about where it is heading, only that it is in the Netherlands as transit, after being in my country. Both Customs and the Post that has been dealing with this package, don't know anything about it, and I cannot contact Japan Post, who apparently know's something about it, even though they have not been handeling it. All this while my package seems to be returning to Japan, and there is nothing I can do expect contact Japan Post, which means I have to contact a friend in Japan to talk to them, to tell me what they say. All the while my package is roaming around in the world, being send around, costing me money without seemingly ever to receive it.
    Then after all this, it is corona time, so now I sit home and don't have anything to do, and just wait for the package. But I don't have the luxury of forgetting about it, because I don't really have anything else going on.

    Maybe not the extreme of Kafka, but certainly the banality of it.

  19. Theirs nobody more enslaved than the people who believe they are free..

  20. Is this like Covfefe?

  21. No meat touching, ma'am!

  22. Could you argue that "death of a salesman" by Arthur miller is a kofkaesque?

  23. First 2 things that come to mind….DMV and the Airport.

  24. 2:34 177013 kafka was ahead of his time

  25. I loath modern world!

  26. I wish school was this interesting

  27. What’s confusing is the spelling an pronunciation of that word

  28. Yeah….that's why I'm here. I heard the drug counselor in Breaking Bad tell Jessie that something was "Kafkaesque". I didn't get it….. and I have read Franz Kafka.

  29. so the system is the tyrant.. that feeds upon both the citizens and the officials..

    both are trapped

  30. What is this about???

  31. Is this Kafkaseque that I get the video and don't get it at the same time

  32. Kafkaesque is my favorite word in the dictionary. There’s something about the hopelessness of absurdity, the bottomless pit of schedules and control and manipulation, something about life in general that is so inherently nightmarish and illogical. And I’d say that the word Kafkaesque sums it all up as perfectly as you can ask for.

  33. And why not kafky?

  34. hey, I want to start reading Kafka . Can you recommend me a book of him

  35. 2:35 ooh boy. if you know, you know. 177013

  36. 0:42 Tbh sounds like school to me

  37. Kafka wanted that his works would be destroyed after his death

  38. Interesting. I've never heard this term. Sadly, it sounds like some jobs I've had. Endless paperwork.

  39. You have to learn german to understand the true genius of kafka though. I listened to some translations and Trust me its really not the same.

  40. 177013 – Metamorphosis(Emergence)

  41. ted ed videos make realize actually how narrow is my english vocabulary range

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