The Horror and Comedy in Kafka's The Metamorphosis

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Franz Kafka’s 20th century short fiction story, “The Metamorphosis” is a story about a man’s overnight transformation into a vermin. Kafka was a very influential writer during his time. He used many different feelings and emotions such as comedy and horror in much of his writing. “The Metamorphosis” is a great example of Kafka’s work that exemplifies both a horror and comedy within the same story. After reading “The Metamorphosis” and reading articles from F.D. Luke and Jean Collingnon, both scholarly writers on Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” I realized that this story can be classified as both a horror story and a comedy. Kafka offers many different concepts and situations which allows the reader to classify “The Metamorphosis” as a horror story and a comedy.

While analyzing “The Metamorphosis” for the first time, I found it incredibly disturbing and depressing, however after seeing the film and reading what Collingnon and Luke had to say about the story I found humor in many of the situations that I once thought were depressing. In Jean Collingnon’s “Kafka’s Humor,” Collingnon mentions several different examples of Kafka’s humor and how much of it comes about. In her writing she asserts that Kafka’s humor is both “oppressed and depressed,” Kafka makes a point to make light of the hardships Gregor faced (Collingnon 53). Much of Kafka’s humor comes from past life experiences that he experienced, such as his experience with the Austro-Hungarian Empire and tedious work (Collingnon 53). According to Collingnon, Kafka creates heroic characters in horrific situations through humor.

Initially Collignon claims that Kafka’s Humor “is the humor of a man both oppressed and depressed who smiles not in order to forget but to assert his independence, and makes plain his determination not be overwhelmed by hardships,” showing where his humor is coming from (Collignon 53-54). Collignon’s writing shows that many of Kafka’s stories focus on how to make the best out...
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