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The Myth Of Perfection, Semi Philosophical Comparitive Essay Comparing "A Doll's House" By Ibsen And "The Metamorphosis" By Kafka

1314 words - 5 pages

Perfection is a much sought-after quality, yet is completely impossible to obtain. Because we do not have a clear definition of what perfection truly is, when a person attempts to become 'perfect', they are usually transforming into what seems to be perfect to . In both 'A Doll's House' and 'The Metamorphosis', we see that human beings cannot achieve a state of total perfection. When Gregor Samsa, from 'the Metamorphosis', attempts to be the perfect provider that his family expects him to be, he inadvertently turns his life into an insectoid existence. Likewise, when Nora from 'A Doll's House' tries to live up to her husband's expectations of a perfect wife, she builds up enough self-hate to leave everything that she loves and start an entirely new life. Striving to be this ideal person, like attempting to acquire any other impossible goal, is damaging to the characters in both cases. The fortunes of these characters illustrate the harm in attempting to achieve these impossible objectives.
As human beings, we have no conception of any absolute values, such as perfection and imperfection or hot and cold. We can only perceive changes or comparisons based on what we already know. Through experience, we can tell what is hotter or colder, but never actually tell what the absolutes are. This is a central aspect of what makes perfection impossible to achieve. What exactly is perfection? Seeing as we have no inherent knowledge of what is perfect or imperfect, these ideals are usually set by the expectations of others who are in positions of control over us. Therein lies one of the fundamental dangers in attempting to achieve perfection. When the aims and goals of our lives are governed by an outside force, we are transferring a great amount of power over ourselves to someone else who may not have the best intentions.
Those who have power over us, in most circumstances, will use it to their own benefit. This is Gregor Samsa's main problem. He transfers control of his life over to his family, who hardly had the best intentions for Gregor's well-being. They merely wanted a way to get money and food to support themselves. With Gregor working, his father has an excuse to continue doing nothing, and allows the family to remain stagnant at the level that they are at. Directly and indirectly, his family enforces the view that a son should work to support his family and not himself. They did this by showing love and commending Gregor when he brought them food and money, showing him that this was their idea of what a perfect son was.
'He (Gregor) felt a certain pride that he had managed to provide his parents and his sister with such a life in such a beautiful apartment. What now if all calm, all prosperity, all contentment should come to a horrifying end?' p.142

At this point, Gregor shows how much working for his family has come to mean to Gregor. Needing a source of love in his life, took this opportunity and became a working man in order...

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