Franz Kafka 's The Metamorphosis Essay

Franz Kafka 's The Metamorphosis Essay

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Arguably one of Franz Kafka 's most brilliant works, The Metamorphosis provides many ambiguities for readers to consider. One of the many thought-provoking aspects of Kafka’s story is Gregor Samsa 's transformation into a bug, rather than any other animal. What is Kafka trying to say by using this symbol to describe Gregor? One explanation for this may be the many qualities that Gregor 's character shares with bugs and how they are perceived by humans. Through the details presented in the story, it is clear that Kafka has chosen for Gregor to become a bug because, like an insect, he has a robotic-like work ethic, an altruistic nature, and lacks of significance to others.
Throughout The Metamorphosis, Kafka presents Gregor as one who has spent his life simply going through the motions, lacking personal conviction. For instance, Gregor, despite waking up and discovering he is now a large insect, quickly thinks of work. After a cursory survey of his new body and his surroundings, Gregor exclaims to himself "Oh God…what an exhausting job I 've picked on!" (89). Although Gregor proceeds to describe what he dislikes about his job he still concedes, "I 'd better get up, since my train goes at five" (90). This series of details points to Gregor 's disconnection between his sense of self and sense of obligation even in the most extreme circumstances. Furthermore, Gregor’s disengaged desire to work continues, even as the people around him react in horror to his transformation. Despite the fact everyone has recoiled from him, Gregor still tries to convince the chief clerk to save his job by saying, “…I’m willing to work; traveling is a hard life, but I can’t live without it” (101). Gregor appears to have no perception for the situa...


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...tial. Gregor’s journey mirrors how a bug may be viewed with disgust initially, but then is quickly cast aside and forgotten.
On the whole, Kafka’s choice to illustrate Gregor’s metamorphosis as one into an insect is appropriate because of the many traits Gregor shares with them. By showing Gregor’s physical transformation into a bug, Kafka illuminates the idea that Gregor underwent little change at all, considering his likeness to bugs in the first place. This aspect of the story also helps readers to understand what Kafka believes about human nature. Kafka created Gregor as a symbol that represents his dismal view of society and the individual’s insignificant role in it. He created a soulless character living in a meaningless world relying on rote behaviors and ingrained tendencies. How could this commentary create hope for the future of humanity in Kafka’s eyes?

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