The Symbolic Nature of Sacrifice and Transformation in Kafka’s "The Metamorphosis"

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“The Making of an Allegory,” by Edwin Honig and “Franz Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’ as Death and Resurrection Fantasy,” by Peter Dow Webster illuminate how sacrifice and transformation are a vital part of the deeper meaning of "The Metamorphosis." Gregor Samsa is an ordinary young man until he wakes up one day as a giant vermin; metamorphosised into something horrendous and reviled by the world. Through Honig’s and Webster’s critical essays, this transformation, as well as many more, and sacrifice made by all involved are explored in a thorough and definitive way.

In “The Making of an Allegory,” Honig illustrates how the family structure is altered and strengthened by Gregor’s transformation and, in turn, his seclusion. Honig’s syntax defines his article and gives the reader an excellent idea of this complete metamorphosis of the family. An effect of this is depicted through Mr. Samsa, seen through the cracked door of Gregor’s room, as he now “holds himself very erect,” dresses “in a tight-fitting blue uniform with gold buttons,” and “his black eyes dart bright, piercing glances.” By using syntax such as Honig does, he explains how the change in Gregor has brought about a change in his whole family, most notably his father. He accompanies this with a great deal of imagery, including “above the high stiff collar of the jacket his heavy chin protruded...[and] his usually rumpled white hair was combed flat…” Honig’s interpretation of this change displays to the reader that Gregor’s family was affected just as much, if not more, than Gregor. The depressive nature of Gregor towards his father’s new behavior portrays his seclusion and essential worthlessness. These transformations become the center of attention when Mr. Samsa begins hurling apples at the misshapen Gregor. This scene illustrates the retaking of his position as head of the family even as Mrs. Samsa, “her hands clasping his father’s neck, [begs] for Gregor’s life.” Honig’s intention is to make clear how he...
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