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The Relationship Between Gregor And Samsa

1642 words - 7 pages

The meaning of life and existence is a question that has been thoroughly explored in literature. As time, people, and philosophies have evolved, interpretations of life and existence have evolved along with them. Among the literary pioneers who have explored the meaning and purpose of existence, Franz Kafka is one to be noted and studied. A follower of the existentialism movement, he made it a point explore existential philosophy in his literary works. In Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, the main character Gregor Samsa is the parallel to Franz Kafka which is evident through the portrayal of their similar paternal relationships, ties to existentialism, and their inability to exist without the interference of others.
The main character, Gregor Samsa is a traveling salesman, who supports his family entirely on his wages from work. He holds a sense of pride because he had the capability to support his family and provide a comfortable lifestyle for them. Gregor is both the protagonist and the victim in this novella. One day Gregor wakes up to discover that he has been spontaneously transformed into a vermin. As the plot progresses the family gradually takes on the role as the villain within the story. Gregor is deliberately characterized as a vermin because Kafka wanted to direct his reader’s attention on the symbolic meaning of the word. Naming a specific type of bug would have focus readers on the visual and overt meaning of the word. Instead Kafka wanted the reader to understand that by using the word vermin it describes a useless and parasitic person. For years Gregor slaved, working for an unappreciative and ungrateful. The whole time Gregor worked to support his family; he was never offered help from any of his family. Despite them all having the means and capability to work and contribute. Mr. Samsa horded a large amount of money he made from his previous business, while Gregor took on his responsibilities. Gregor’s family more thoroughly embodied the title of vermin than Gregor does. For years they were useless and parasitic towards Gregor. The life of Gregor Samsa and Franz Kafka is extremely similar and it is illustrated with the literary work The Metamorphosis. It is through this novella that Kafka illustrates his beliefs in the existential philosophy.
Throughout The Metamorphosis, Kafka illustrates the relationship between Gregor and Mr. Samsa fully, to the extent that their almost identical relationships become overt through Kafka’s illustrations in his novella. Both Gregor and Franz despise their vocational bondage but are imprisoned by their sense of familial loyalty and devotion. Gregor despises his occupation as a traveling salesmen. When he reflects on his occupation he thinks “what a strenuous occupation” (Kafka 14). After his moment of reflection Gregor comes to a realization and saying “to the devil with it all” (Kafka 14). Franz Kafka knew all too well the struggles of working an unfulfilling job to satisfy a father....

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