Kafka's Short Story: Metamorphosis Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

But getting out of bed is problematic, and it is a humorous picture when a reader imagines what it must have looked like as he hears someone from his office arriving and he "…almost froze while his small limbs only danced around all the faster" (Kafka, 10).

It is also tragic that the apple that his father threw at him has caused inflammation; it is tragic that his room is now a dumping area; it is tragic that the new lodgers threaten to sue and that Gregor's sister thinks they should get rid of Gregor because he was driving away the renters. The incident in which Gregor's mother fainted and was "perhaps near death, thanks to him" (Kafka, 48) is tragic. Add to that the fact that broken glass wounded Gregor in the face and some "corrosive medicine dripped over him" -- and this is ironic and tragic. Medicine on his body that would do him absolutely no good nevertheless is harmful.

Tragedy is far more salient to this story than humor, and it goes on and on as the narrative continues. His family has all been forced to work (which is justice) and they are full of complaints, which doesn't cause readers to shed tears. And on page 57 his sister "kicked some food or other…" into Gregor's room, her way of feeding him; and when cleaning his room, "she perceived the dirt as much as he did, but she had decided just to let it stay" (Kafka, 58). In other words Gregor was of no more use that a pile of dire. More tragedy is heaped on the reader's consciousness as the cleaning lady "…simply flung anything that was momentarily useless" into the room where Gregor was trying to survive as an insect (Kafka, 61).

Irony and tragedy enter into the picture again; the lodgers' audible teeth-chewing reminds Gregor that "people needed their teeth to eat" and he of course didn't have his anymore. "How these lodgers stuff themselves and I am dying," he said on page 62. More irony on page 68 as Gregor's sister says they need to get rid of Gregor: "When people have to work as hard as we all do, they cannot also tolerate this endless torment at home" (Kafka, 68). But how quickly they forget that it was Gregor who worked so hard to keep the family afloat financially, and once Gregor was dead, the comments are so ludicrous as to be funny. Didn't they realize that an insect could not eat the food that had presented to Gregor? "Look how thin he was," said Grete. "He had eaten nothing for such a long time" (Kafka, 73). The final tragic remark came from Gregor's father on page 72: "Now we can give thanks to God," and he crossed himself and the three women did the same. Did that absolve them from responsibility? Of course not, but perhaps Kafka was poking fun at religion, or society, or both.

In conclusion, this story has more tragedy in it than humor, but certainly some of the scenes and incidents are ridiculous and hence, humorous from a twisted point-of-view. The whole idea of waking up as a bug is absurd, but on the other hand, the reactions of his family are not out of sorts from what any family might be like in this…

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Works Cited

Kafka, Franz. "The Metamorphosis." Retrieved April 20, 2014, from http://www.planetebook.com.

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