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Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis uses a fantastic situation to create an allegory about the meaning of humanness and about the relationship of the individual to the world in which he lives. That relationship is involved here as the ties to that world are broken. Gregor Samsa awakens to find that he has been changed into a huge vermin. The only contact he has with the world in which he lived the night before is through the family members who can be heard moving around the house and who react to Gregor's change in various ways. Underlying this story is the sense that Gregor is being punished for some unstated crime and that the universe has taken this means of inflicting that punishment. Yet it is more likely that the universe is meaningless, unmotivated, and absurd, and so the transformation that comes over Gregor cannot be explained with references to symbolic forms at all. Yet this does not mean that the character himself does not believe the universe has meaning, a meaning directed at him. As with certain other Kafka heroes, Gregor seems to have no idea what crime he committed and in many ways does not seem surprised that he is being punished in spite of that fact. Gregor believes that man's position in this world is always to be the transgressor against some higher power he or she never really knows or understands. The transformation really explains nothing about the universe except that it might be vindictive, and yet it has no reason for that. Any examination which tries to find this sort of directly related meaning in Metamorphosis will end in failure because there is no real answer and no way to acquire one. Gregor has changed into a giant insect, but the universe he believes has changed him says nothing.

Gregor has gone from being human to being non-human. There is no doubt that this transformation is real and not merely a figment of his imagination or a dream:

It was no dream. His room, a regular human be...

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Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:38, May 25, 2020, from