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Character Analysis of Gregor Samsa

Autor:   •  April 21, 2013  •  Case Study  •  1,279 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,405 Views

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Character Analysis of Gregor Samsa

Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” is a tragic tale of realizing ones worthless existence. From the very opening lines the reader discovers along with the protagonist, Gregor Samsa, that he has been transformed into a disgusting cockroach. This transformation of physical form by the main character serves several purposes, mostly helping Gregor realize the true purposes of his life. He soon learns after his metamorphosis that everything in his mundane life has been without love and meaning.

Gregor is a traveling salesman, a job that he is forced to work at in order to support his family and pay of his father’s debt. Despite his indentured slavery, he still exclaims “what an exhausting job I’ve chose!” (302). In saying this, it obvious that he doesn’t realize or want to come to terms with the fact that It really isn’t a job that he himself had chosen, yet one that that his family has trapped him into work and receives little, if any, recognition for his efforts. When he awakes the morning of the metamorphosis the first thing he thinks about after examining his new vermin form in detail is how he is going to be late for work. His work ethic is proven when he is even more concerned about the fact that he has missed the train to work than he is about his state of being an insect. Even when the office manager of the company in which he works comes to his house to check on him when he has not made it to work on time, he is nothing but apologetic.

Gregor in both parts of his life, man and beast, is a very lonely man. Day in and day out he just goes to his job and comes home and doesn’t have much of a life outside of that though he seems to long for one. He has a picture hanging up “he had recently cut out of an illustrated magazine and had set in a lovely guilt frame. It showed a lady wearing a fur hat and a fur stole, sitting upright, and thrusting out to the view a thick fur muff, into which her whole forearm disappeared” (302). This proves that he longs for a woman in his life and thinks of life outside of own forlorn existence. His only sort of social life is at work. When he comes home all he does is sit and read newspapers and look at train schedules and play with his “fretsaw” (306). Even though he is around people at work and at home, there is still a great sense of loneliness for poor Gregor. After the big change, he is even lonelier because he is now even more estranged and alienated from his family.

When Gregor turns into a cockroach, he is unable to live with the fact that his family will never love him and will always ostracize him. After his transformation, he thinks only of them and panics when he thinks of how they will support themselves. He struggles with intense feelings of guilt as if his inability to support his family were his own fault. He had been providing a pleasant life for them, sacrificing himself in


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