In Franz Kafka’s story The Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa falls victim, to some strange affliction which somehow turns him into a colossal insect of some sort. His bizarre and tragic story takes place in a European apartment in the early twentieth century; a time in which much stock was placed in both etiquette and the appearance of propriety. These standards found throughout the society in which he is placed leads to his ultimate downfall.
When Gregor wakes up in his bed to find he has become an insect Gregor is only slightly concerned at his predicament. His first reaction is not what the reader might expect, anyone else probably would have panicked and worried about how this happened, but Gregor seems only to care about two things; how he will get out of his bed and how he will get to work on time. This is done by Kafka so that the reader can have a better understanding of just how strange a position Gregor is in both physically and mentally. The reader can see that by the standards of any society, with a mindset such as Gregor’s, his ultimate failure was inevitable.
The Specific society in which Gregor undergoes his transformation is so rigid in its order that Gregor’s situation is handled by the family and the family only. Short of the boss and a few people that necessarily had to see Gregor, the Samsa household felt it better to conceal its problem than to address it, in order to maintain an outward
appearance of normalcy both to the community and to themselves. Their view of the problem was out of sight, out of mind.
The predicament of Gregor goes far beyond the standards of the specific society he is in however. His problem is universal and, although in different societies it may have been handled differently, all would have had problems dealing with Gregor. The Samsa family tried, because of their setting, to hide Gregor and continue with their life as normal. As the three tenants the Samsa’s house demonstrate fairly clearly, order was a key part of life where Gregor lived. When they found out that they had been sharing a house with Gregor, they were appalled, even though nothing was different now than it was when they moved in, Gregor was still being kept in his room to keep him away from the public.
What really ended up killing Gregor, however, were the...