Essay on Gregor as Christ in Kafka's Metamorphosis

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Gregor as Christ in Kafka's Metamorphosis

In his "Metamorphosis", Kafka utilizes an allegorical technique to compare Gregor's sacrifices to those of Jesus in the Bible. Ultimately, both Gregor and Jesus sacrifice their lives so that they can help their loved ones, despite betrayal.  Kafka uses this biblical allegory to illustrate Gregor's Christ-like actions.

In the Bible, God, sacrifices his only son, a respectable, revered "heavenly" figure, allowing Jesus to live amongst sinful people. In human form, Jesus treats the common people's illnesses and performs miracles to help them; above all, he cares for them and loves them.  Jesus is selfless, endlessly devoting himself to helping and serving others, and ensuring that they will have a better life by showing them "the way" to God.  Jesus sacrifices his life in heaven to come to Earth and help his people.

Just as Jesus makes personal sacrifices to help his people, Gregor similarly sacrifices his dreams and happiness to provide a good life for his family.  Gregor's life revolves around his job as a travelling salesman.  He is committed to his work, although he dislikes his job, "what a gruelling job I've picked.  If I didn't hold back for my parents' sake, I would have quit long ago" (4).  Gregor's life lacks comfort and joy; he is constantly travelling, and is unable to form quality relationships.  However, he sacrifices his dreams for future happiness so that he can provide for his family.  As the sole 'breadwinner' of his family, Gregor keeps only a few dollars from his paycheque each month, using the rest to pay family debts and sending the money home to his parents.  His family is completely dependent on him for financial security, and Gregor's generosity preven...

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...trayed by his family, he is imprisoned in his room; however, he "thought back on his family with deep emotion and love".  His affection for his family results in his conviction that he must disappear, so that he can bring them happiness and peace.  Gregor sacrifices his life and dies during the night to save his family from hardship.  He loves them unconditionally, like Jesus loves his people, and does not criticise them for betraying and mistreating him. Gregor's final sacrifice of his life is the strongest comparison of his Christ-like attributes.

In Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" Gregor's sacrifices are shown to be Christ-like by the horrible treatment he receives from others, his betrayal by his family, and his selfless reactions and eventual death.

Works Cited:

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

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