Existentialism In The Metamorphosis

Existentialism is a philosophical movement that emphasizes individual freedom and choice, and the inherent meaninglessness of life. Franz Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis is a prime example of existentialist literature. The story centers on Gregor Samsa, a man who wakes up one day to find himself transformed into a giant insect. This sudden change leads Gregor to question his own existence, and to reevaluate his relationships with others. In the end, he realizes that he must accept his new form and learn to live with it.

The Metamorphosis highlights many of the key tenets of existentialism, including the idea that life is ultimately meaningless and that we must create our own purpose in life. Additionally, the story explores the idea of isolation and alienation, as Gregor is forced to confront his own physical and emotional isolation after his transformation. Ultimately, The Metamorphosis is a powerful exploration of the human condition, and an excellent example of existentialist literature.

Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis is a superbly written novella about Gregor Samsa, an employee who devotes his life to his family and career for nothing in return. Only after he has become a helpless insect does he achieve a sense of self-identity and understand the connections around him. The main theme of The Metamorphosis is an existential one that argues that each decision will shape a person’s future actions and that individuals have ultimate control over their decisions.

Kafka’s story is a perfect example of existentialism because it deals with the idea of choice and its implications. For Gregor, his choices up until his transformation were based on what would make his family happy or what was expected of him. He never stopped to consider what he wanted for himself and as a result, ended up miserable. It wasn’t until he was forced to confront his new reality that he began to make choices based on what he wanted.

The Metamorphosis is a powerful story that speaks to the human condition. It highlights the importance of making choices that are true to oneself and not being afraid to go against the grain. Kafka’s writing is timeless and will continue to resonate with readers for years to come.

Gregor’s decisions in society have caused him to become numb to everything around him, resulting in a lack of identity that has made him emotionless. Gregor is transformed into a beetle one morning. Despite the fact that the reader is never informed about how Gregor changed into a beetle or shown that he pays considerable attention to having an insect’s body, Kafka gives the strong impression that Gregor works very hard at his job and is the family’s sole breadwinner, with none of them working.

From the beginning, Gregor is extremely self-sacrificing, working long hours to support his parents and sister despite the fact that he himself is barely scraping by. Even when he wakes up as a beetle, his first thoughts are of his job and how he will get to work on time.

In this way, Kafka suggests that Gregor has allowed his work to consume him to the point where it is the only thing that matters to him. This is what eventually leads to Gregor’s downfall; by forgetting about everything else in his life except for work, he has lost sight of what is truly important, and as a result, has become a shell of his former self.

As Gregor becomes more and more isolated, both physically and emotionally, he begins to withdraw into himself. He becomes afraid of people and even the sight of them repulses him. This is exemplified when Gregor’s sister comes into his room to clean and he “…could not endure the sight of her face any longer, it was so full of solicitude and pity” He eventually stops speaking altogether and can only communicate through grunting noises. In this way, Kafka suggests that Gregor has lost touch with his own humanity and has become more like an animal than a human being.

Gregor’s physical transformation into a beetle also symbolizes his emotional and psychological transformation into something less than human. As he becomes more isolated from the people in his life, he also becomes more isolated from himself. He stops speaking, stops interacting with people, and eventually stops caring about anything at all.

In the end, Gregor’s metamorphosis is not just physical, but existential as well. He has become a creature of habit and routine, without any real sense of identity or purpose. Kafka suggests that this is the ultimate tragedy of Gregor’s life; not that he has become an insect, but that he has allowed himself to become something less than human.

Although Gregor’s story ends in tragedy, it is also a story of hope. In spite of everything that has happened to him, Gregor still retains some semblance of his humanity. He may be an insect, but he is still able to think and feel like a human being. This is exemplified when Gregor hears his sister playing the violin for the first time in months and is moved to tears.

In that moment, Gregor realizes that he still cares about his sister and that he still has some connection to his former life. This shows that, even though Gregor has lost touch with his own humanity, he has not completely lost it. There is still some part of him that remains human, and it is this part that gives him the strength to keep going despite everything.

Gregor submits himself to a life of continuous work and self-denial, “[day in, day out – on the road]” (Kafka 4), obedience to each demand and expectation scrupulously. His existence could be compared to that of a drone in an ant colony, which provides an explanation for Kafka’s reasoning when he transforms into an insect and doesn’t consider it at all odd.

In the beginning, Gregor is completely unaware of his existential crisis, he does not realize that he is not happy. The first hint of this is when he daydreams about traveling. He “longed to wander forth from the house” (Kafka 3) and see new places, but his job as a traveling salesman trap him. When Gregor is transformed, he finally has an opportunity to do what he wanted all along, explore. Yet, instead of being excited by this change, Gregor reacts with terror and dismay.

The reason for Gregor’s extreme reaction can be found in his relationship to his family and society at large. From the very beginning of the story, it is clear that Gregor is not content with his life. He works to support his family, but feels little appreciation from them. In fact, they are “annoyed” (Kafka 3) by his presence and use him as a “breadwinner” (Kafka 3). This relationship is not supportive or healthy, and it is likely that Gregor has been aware of this for some time. His transformation into an insect could be seen as a manifestation of this internal unhappiness.

As an insect, Gregor is finally free from the expectations of society. He no longer has to work to support his family, and can do as he pleases. However, instead of finding happiness in this freedom, Gregor descends into despair. He becomes a “beast of burden” (Kafka 9) for his family, and is trapped in his own home. In this way, Gregor’s transformation can be seen as an external representation of his internal state. He is not truly free, even as an insect, because he is still bound by the expectations of those around him.

Gregor’s story is a tragic one, but it is also a very human one. His struggle to find happiness in a life that seems determined to keep him unhappy is something that many people can relate to. His story highlights the ways in which we can be trapped by our own lives, and how difficult it can be to break free. It is a story that speaks to the human condition, and it is this that makes it so powerful.

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