Metamorphosis Existentialism Essay

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The Existentialist school of thought poses that humans live in an irrational universe and try, to no avail, to forge meaning out of the chaos and stress. Franz Kafka expresses this sentiment in his novella, Metamorphosis, in which Gregor Samsa awakes to find he has transformed into a human-sized dung beetle and struggles to maintain that which makes him human. Through Kafka’s expression of Existential ideas of living-for-others and isolation, the author encapsulates Gregor’s descent into animalistic surrender.
Gregor’s descent begins even before the inception of the novel, for five years he labors at work and brings home his pay for his family’s use, eschewing familial contact, social interaction, everything that connects him to the world outside of himself. Jean-Paul Sartre, Existential philosopher and playwright, writes in Huis clos that “Hell is other people” which becomes apparent in Metamorphosis as Gregor achieves his own Sisyphean hell of work, travel, sleep. Mrs. Samsa reassures
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His isolation brings up Kafka’s personal belief that things in isolation lose meaning, and throughout the novella Gregor progressively loses his last shreds of humanity. Most obviously, Gregor quickly loses the ability to talk and communicate but gradually his perception of what makes him human. In the final third of the book, Gregor achieves a short moment of lucidity when he hears his sister playing and contemplates if he “truly [is] an animal if music could captivate him so” (Kafka). Grete pulls Gregor back to lucid thought through her music, a symbol of physical connection to the soul, and Gregor even remembers the great present he has planned for Grete. This vision is interrupted by one of the boarders upon Gregor’s recollection his current predicament and his surrender to the horrid beast he has

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