“Symbolizing ones humanity”
Although Gregor’s transformation into a bug symbolizes his dehumanized and alienated humanity in The Metamorphosis, his passionate response to Grete’s violin playing embodies a relationship between his transformation as a bug and his fantasy of protecting Grete as he slowly crawls up to her. Throughout the Novella and Gregor’s transformation into a vermin, the theme of the story becomes contingent on what and who Gregor Samsa once was and has become. Grete playing the violin toward the end of the story fills a void that Gregor had been missing for some time since his transformation.
Gregor Samsa’s transformation into a vermin is a literal representation of the dehumanized and alienated life that he has come to live. Gregor in his human form represented nothing more then a paycheck to keep his family afloat because of his father’s misfortune. As Gregor took on the role as the family’s income and support, he lost all touch with reality, lust, love, enjoyment and friendship, which are symbolized by his transformation into a vermin. As Gregor hears the music from Grete’s violin, it is the first time he has heard her music since his transformation into a vermin. While Gregor listens to Grete play the violin, he begins to feel a love for the music, which he once felt in his human form. “Was he an animal if music could captivate him so” (Kafka 58)? Gregor’s passionate response to Grete’s music is because “He was being shown the way to the unknown nourishment he had been yearning for” (Kafka 59). The music that was being played by Grete allowed Gregor to justify his humanity and love for her violin playing, which then lead to his fantasy of protecting Grete as he crawled up toward her.
Although Gregor’s transformation into a vermin gives us a literal animation of his dehumanized character, His passionate response to Grete’s music justifies his humanity even as a vermin. Gregor’s fantasy of protecting Grete at the end of the novella seems to represent similar actions from the beginning of The Metamorphosis. In the beginning of the novella when we analyze Gregor’s relationship toward the picture of the “Lady fitted out with a fur hat and fur boa who sat upright, raising a heavy fur muff that covered the whole of her lower arm towards the viewer” we get a sense of Gregor’s erotic and sexual fantasies (Kafka 4). Mid novella, when Gregor’s prized photo of the lady in the fur was in danger of being thrown out Kafka says, “This picture at least, now totally covered by Gregor, would certainly be taken away by no-one” (75). Grete represents Gregor’s once human character and she brings him a sense of pleasure that is similar to the one of the fur-coated lady. As Gregor crawls towards Grete’s violin playing, Kafka narrating Gregor says “he wanted to be at every door of his room at once to hiss and spit at the...