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The Cruelty of Society
How accurate is Nietzsche’s saying “Man is the cruelest animal?” According to Kafka, humankind cannot be described any other way. In his The Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa, “[finds] himself transformed into an enormous insect” (Kafka, The Metamorphosis 612). Before the transformation, Gregor’s family depends on him for their survival. Afterwards, however, the transformation prevents him from adhering to his responsibilities and family duties; consequently, he is detested to the point of abandonment, abuse, and neglect. So, instead of taking this surrealistic work literally, it should be taken as a metaphor for how society disregards those who are useless and undertake extreme measures when they become a burden. Gregor becomes an outcast the instant he opens the door and everyone observes that he is altered. His “new look” drives the Deputy Director away and causes him to lose his job, which “[seems] to…completely [unhinge] his father” (620). It takes no time for the father to turn on his own son and react violently by “swatting at him with the stick and the newspaper” (620). He is prepared to go as far as killing his son since “at every moment, the stick in his father’s hand threatened to deal him a fatal blow to his back or head” (620). The realization that Gregor cannot contribute to the family anymore causes him to be attacked by people who respected him less than an hour ago, and leads to his desertion in his room because the same people do not want to see him. This symbolizes humankind going to extreme measures to dispose of the burdensome. When a person is being helpful to others, those people admire this person. However, when the person stops being beneficial, the group rejects the person instantaneously and excludes him or her from everything the group participates in. As the days go by, Gregor becomes more and more unworthy of his relatives, who proclaim him to not even be part of the family. His lack of involvement forces...
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