Comedy and Tragedy in Kafka's "The Metamorphosis"

2608 WordsNov 1, 200811 Pages
c The subtle yet powerful combination of comedy and tragedy in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis was not an accident. Kafka combined these genres in order to convey the mixture of emotions that accurately mirrors the cruelty of life. The main character, Gregor Samsa, is used to illustrate the betrayal that can exist in a family unit as well as a place of employment. Together, Kafka is making a strong commentary on life in order to express his own feelings of desolation and cynicism regarding society and society’s microcosm, the family. The only way to survive the inconsistencies and contradictions of life is the total acceptance of the combined comic and tragic elements of life that one must face daily. Kafka used The Metamorphosis as a…show more content…
When the clerk says, “However, now when I see how incredibly stubborn you are, I no longer have the slightest desire to defend you” (342), it is humorous because Gregor was only two hours late and the clerk was obviously overreacting. It is obvious at this point what a cruel, narcissistic, and obtuse man the chief clerk is. Although he is just a co-worker of Gregor’s, Kafka uses this character to represent the cruel behaviors of society on the whole. Kafka continues to develop the connection between Gregor and the typical artist of his time by showing how selfless and oblivious Gregor is. When Gregor wakes up turned into an insect one morning, instead of panicking, he doesn’t seem to worry much about himself, only his obligations: If I did not hold back for my parents’ sake, I would have quit long ago. I would have marched up to the boss and spoken my peace from the bottom of my heart… Well I have not given up hope completely; once I’ve gotten the money together to pay off my parents’ debt to him, I’m going to make the big break. But for the time being, I better get up, since my train leaves at five (338). When Kafka has Gregor say, “But for the time being, I better get up, since my train leaves at five” (338). He is introducing subtle humor because Gregor actually believes he is capable of getting up and making it to work. Could you imagine a giant beetle walking to work with a

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