Subconscious Rebellion in the Novel The Metamorphosis Essay

Decent Essays

The Metamorphosis, a novella by Franz Kafka, is about a man who has been

transformed into a giant beetle overnight. This transformation is a form of rebellion that

turns out to be a punishment for that rebellion. The Metamorphosis is a story of

subconscious rebellion and isolation to avoid one's responsibilities.

The story begins, "When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling

dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin." (Kafka, 3) This

is quite surprising. Most people would be extremely shocked and frightened to wake up

as a giant beetle, but this matter-of-fact tone Kafka uses makes it seem as if Gregor is

not shocked at all. It sounds like this is completely normal. In fact, …show more content…


planned on sending his sister, Grete, to the conservatory "...precisely from the parents'

opposed wish..." (Kaiser, 150) Gregor knows that "...[his] parents would have opposed

it. There was a faint sign of rebellion hidden behind this idea..." (Politzer, 76-77) All of

these rebellious thoughts and wishes built up to the metamorphosis. When, it occurs he

becomes free of his wishes. Gregor's new identity as a giant beetle doesn't allow him to

go to work, hereby setting him free from his intolerable job. Walter Sokel writes that

"...the metamorphosis is a rejection of all responsibility..." and that "The immediate

function of the metamorphosis, then, is to prevent an imminent rebellion of the

son..." (Sokel, 170) But instead of preventing a rebellion, the metamorphosis acts as

one. It accomplishes the goal of his longed-for rebellion, and it relieves him from any

kind of responsibility he once had.

When Gregor's office manager shows up at his house to find out what's wrong it

becomes known that Gregor may have been in some trouble at work. His office

manager says that "[Gregor's] performance of late has been very

unsatisfactory." (Kafka,12) This helps to confirm that Gregor underwent this

metamorphosis to avoid all of his responsibilities. At first, it may not seem like this is

what Gregor wanted. He does try very hard to convince the manager that he can still

come into work. He says "I'm in a tight spot, but I'll

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