Examples Of Existentialism In Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis

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Existentialism is a twentieth-century philosophy concerned with finding oneself and the meaning of life through free-will, choice and personal responsibility. People determine who and what they are throughout life as they make choices based on their experiences, beliefs and outlook. Franz Kafka was one of the first Existentialist writers and this philosophy is present in his novella, The Metamorphosis. One of the postulates of the philosophy is that there are things that are rational and perhaps the most obvious example in Kafka’s novella is Gregor’s inexplicable transformation into an insect. The philosophy also includes many other concepts; one of which being how personal responsibility and discipline are crucial.
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As stated before, existentialism is a philosophy that focuses on finding one’s self and the meaning of life through free will, choice and personal responsibility. Ironically, Gregor finds his true self because of his lack of free will and personal choice. He has been transformed into what he truly is; a methodical, diligent, constantly working insect. “My god,” he thought, “what a strenuous profession I’ve chosen! Travelling day in and day out. The turmoil of business is so much greater that in the home office, and on top of that I’m subjected to this torment of travelling, to the worries about train connections, the bad meals at irregular hours, an intercourse with people that constantly changes, never lasts, never becomes cordial. The devil take it all!”(Kafka 12) He undergoes such barren actions not because they are beneficial to his being, but solely because someone else enforced those rules upon him. The result of this is a largely disgruntled Gregor, who is now a carbon copy of countless others who are forced to heave themselves to work every day. He hates his job and is unhappy with his life, but his personal choice to continue with it day after day has resulted in his transformation. Gregor does not once question why he has transformed, or place the blame on himself or a deity. When someone of society tries to impose or demand that their beliefs, values or rules to be faithfully …show more content…
He is constantly engaged in a battle with himself. Although Gregor’s life appeared to become more painful and worthless as time went on, his suffering left him wiser and stronger as an individual. He had the chance to observe human life, from an insect’s perspective, and analyze the selfish nature of all humans, especially his family. Notable existentialists agree that life is never optimally satisfying, but nonetheless meaningful. Gregor Samsa’s life, tragic in its mundaneness, was not satisfying. Moreover, his death was anticlimactic. There was no long description, no lamentation. “Gregor’s head involuntarily sank down altogether, and his last break issued faintly from his nostrils” (Kafka 49). To the reader, this is very unsatisfying. However, it still has meaning. He was given no special attention in life and, ultimately, in death. It would seem illogical for Kafka to write a long passage detailing each iota of information about his passing. Gregor’s quite death reflects his quite life. His continuous labor for his family, albeit monotonous, was very meaningful. This is especially evident after he was no longer able to care for them. His life and death meant something as they were instrumental to his parents’ and sisters’

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