Irony In Metamorphosis

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Throughout Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, translated by Donna Freed, Gregor’s constant struggles to achieve society’s standards of wealth, family, and self-realization cause him to become overwhelmed with his life, unable to cope with the issues he faces.
From the very start of the book, the importance of work for Gregor is heavily emphasized, implying that the pressure of society on Gregor to succeed at work had become a stressor that eventually lead to his downfall. Despite his troubling transformation, work remained the focus of Gregor’s attention, as his primary role as a worker made him “the boss’s creature, mindless and spineless” (Kafka 8). This use of irony, as Samsa should perhaps be focusing foremost on his metamorphosis, expresses
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Because he has for so long been dependent on his family and his job to give him a sense of purpose, the isolation of Gregor from both causes him unbearable grief, as he conclusively ends his life, and with it, his sense of self. While adjusting to his metamorphosis, Grete and Gregor’s mother attempt to remove his furniture, prompting Gregor to realize that “his warm room… to be transformed into a lair in which he would certainly be able to crawl freely in any direction” would come at the cost “of rapidly and completely forgetting his human past” (Kafka 31). The symbolism of Gregor’s furniture representing his loss of human life displays the start of a loss of personality in Gregor, as he is forced to let go of who he is and his life before the metamorphosis. After additional stressors in his personal life, Gregor comes to terms with the fact that he will never regain human life, and therefore never fulfill the roles he wishes to achieve in society. Finally, the absence of human life becomes a lack of life at all, as Gregor “discovered that he could no longer move at all...Then his head sank involuntarily to the floor and his last feeble breath streamed from his nostrils” (Kafka 48). By downplaying and understating Gregor’s death, Kafka poses the question of whether or not Gregor was really living as a bug, or if his “death” was predestined much sooner than his transformation. However, Gregor’s metamorphosis allowed him to lose touch with himself, who he previously was able to hold onto, and to understand that he failed to adhere to society’s criteria of

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