Peter Shaffer and Fraz Kafka Essay

Peter Shaffer and Fraz Kafka Essay

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Peter Shaffer and Franz Kafka, the authors of Metamorphosis and Equus, reveal through their main characters’ struggles how society’s oppression causes a loss of identity. This oppression is caused by society’s obsession with what it believes to be normal and how society tries to conform those who don’t fit its normal image. This essay will first explain how the two authors use their characters to symbolize the different views and judgments of society. Next will show how the authors use two different types of oppression that cause different outcomes. Finally, this essay will reveal how the two authors use their characters to drain the protagonist’s identity to show society’s desire to conform.
In both books the authors use their characters to symbolize society’s views and judgments. The authors do this to show how society is watching and judging us. Shaffer shows this constantly by using a motif of eyes illustrate that his characters are constantly being watched and judged. Another example can be seen in Equus, when Shaffer writes through his character Heather, “He’s [Alan] in pain. Martin. He’s been in pain for most of his life … and you can take it away.” (80). Heather shows society’s inability to comprehend or accept who Alan is and views his difference as something that can be changed for his benefit. In Metamorphosis, Kafka uses his characters to reveal how society can have diverse reactions to those that are different. Kafka uses Gregor’s mother and boss to illustrate how difference can cause fear, “At this [Gregor] his mother screamed once more, fled from the table, and fell into the arms of his father.” (p. 17). However, Gregor’s sister, Grete, shows disgust instead of fear and can’t stand to look at Gregor wh...


... middle of paper ...


...he change and guilt he dies.
In these two books, the authors illustrate society’s judgment on their main characters because of their differences. According to society’s opinion, the protagonist will either go through an internal or physical oppression brought on by society rejection of their differences. Then, using any means necessary, society will use others to try to conform the protagonist into what they deem to be normal or into what they believe is good for them. By adding these subtopics within their books the authors, Peter Shaffer and Franz Kafka, reveal through their main characters how society’s oppression, due to it’s obsession with what it believes to be normal, causes a loss of identity.


Works Cited



Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. Trans. Stanley Corngold. New York: Bantam, 1972.

Shaffer, Peter. Equus. New York, Scribner, 1973.


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