Absurdity of life in Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

What is absurdity of life:
Absurdity of life in Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka,The use of absurdity in literature is a vehicle for writers to explore those elements in the world that do not make sense. It examines questions of meaning and life , and writer often used absurd themes, characters or situations to question whether meaning or structure exist at all.

based on a philosophy the belief that the universe is irrational and meaningless and that the search brings the individual into conflict with the universe
Absurdist Themes:
• People wanted to find meaning within life, since the war had ended
• With all the horror they had seen ,the absurdist writing became relentless and bitter
According to Martin Esslin
“ Strives to express its sense of senselessness of human condition and inadequacy of the rational approach by the open abandonment of rational devices and discursive.”
Absurdist fiction

Absurdist fiction is a genre of literature that arose in the 1950s and 1960s predominantly in France and Germany, prompted by post war disillusionment.

Absurdity in metamorphosis:

The absurdity in life often refer to the conflict between the human tendency to search for the meaning in one’s life and the inability to find it. In short story “Metamorphosis “ written by Franz Kafka the main character Gregor samsa is experiencing an existential crisis as he is confronted with the absurdity in life. He felt he had no true purpose in life. He woke
up one morning transformed into a “vermin” Or a disgusting bug.

These line describes the unnatural events of Gregor transforming into an insect in a solemn, painless manner.
The narrator describes the situation to be ordinary rather than an astonishing problem. This created the sense that the narrator anticipates the world to be absurd and disorderly rather than shrewd.

Here the question arise why did samsa view himself as this horrible creature?

Samsa felt that he had no real place in society, he was just a creature to everyone. He worked as a travelling salesman living room, eat food and was anxious much like a worthless bug . He work to support his family financially. He worked against his will for his parents and sisters.

He was a man who devoted himself to work and self-sacrifice ,his sole purpose was to support his unappreciative family. He was engulfed in that rule it became his identity and he lost himself, lost the idea of having a purpose in life. He accepted the role of worthless bug.

financial distress

Due to the financial distress caused by George’s inability to work, the family takes in boarders. A moving moment amidst all the strange events and perhaps the best respite from the theme of absurdity, was when Gregor heard his sister play the villain.
He ventures slowly and unnoticed outside his room.

He, and the readers, are reminded that on the inside, he’s still human, yearning to return to his natural and loving connections with
Gregor’s sister began to play; on either side, his father and mother attentively followed each movement of her hands. Attracted by her playing, Gregor had ventured a bit further than usual and was already sticking his head into the living room.

She is right a thousand times over,” Gregor’s father murmured under his breath. His mother, still incapable of breathing freely, began to cough dully into her lifted hand, a lunatic expression in her eyes.She is right a thousand times over,” Gregor’s father murmured under his breath. His mother, still incapable of breathing freely, began to cough dully into her lifted hand, a lunatic expression in her eyes those surrounding.

Absurdity of life in Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Absurdity of life in Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Absurdity of life in Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka,That most beautiful moment is ruined as soon as one of the boarders spots the gigantic insect outside his room. In a way, the presence of Gregor himself is what brought an end to that touching moment.
His sister, who had been looking after him with love, feeding him scraps of food and cleaning after him, comes to the following conclusion.Absurdity of life in Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

“Dear parents,” his sister said, striking the table the way of preamble “things cannot go on like this. Even if you two perhaps don’t realize it,l most certainly do. I am unwilling to utter my brother’s name before this creature, and therefore will say only: we have to try to get rid of it.we have done everything humanly possible to care for it and show it tolerance, l don’t think anyone would reproach us to the account.”Absurdity of life in Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

She is right a thousand times over,” Gregor’s father murmured under his breath. His mother, still incapable of breathing freely, began to cough dully into her lifted hand, a lunatic expression in her eyes,Absurdity of life in Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Its means that his family reaction to his misfortune was also one to question. They never really explored why Gregor morphed into this creature, then surprisingly after everything he has done for them he swiftly became a burden to them.

He was their creature to control, he did all the work hard while his father hid money away his sister grew disgusted with sight of him and his mother never had a voice even though she spoke up once in a while. His family never considered his feelings,

his father attacked him constantly even when he would try to give hints that he understood them and he was indeed human and had feelings they showed him very little compassion.Absurdity of life in Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka,

Even his sister who was once his only friend is abandoning him. Gregor hears the family conversations and understands that he had become an unbearable burden to them. Then, at dawn, he dies.

And now?” Gregor wondered, looking around in the dark. He soon made the discovery that he was no longer capable of moving at all. He remained in this state of empty, peaceful reflection until the clock tower struck the third hour of morning. He watched as everything began to lighten outside his window.

Then his head sank all the way to the floor without volition and from his nostrils his last breath faintly streamed.4Kafka wrote this as a “non-event” where it’s not clear whether his death is due to a suicide, broken heart, natural causes or a fatal injury (earlier in the story his father severely injured him by hurling an apple at his back).

The family now is in relief that Gregor is gone.Absurdity of life in Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

His father:
Well,” Herr Samsa said,

“now we can thank God.”

He crossed himself, and the three women [including the cleaning lady] followed his example

In another scene of utter absurdity and disrespect, the cleaning lady gets rid of Gregor’s body and assures the family:
There’s no need for you to go worrying about how to get rid of that mess in there. It’s already been taken care of.”

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Absurdity of life in Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka,In the final scene, the family minus the main character look forward to a bright future. It’s as if their former breadwinner Gregor, the son and brother, who devoted his life to helping his family never even existed:

“Then all three of them left the apartment together, something they had not done for months, and took the electric tram all the way to the open countryside at the edge of town. The car in which they sat all alone was entirely suffused with warm sunlight.

Cozily leaning back in their seats, they discussed their future prospects, and on closer investigation it appeared that these prospects were not bad at all, for all three of their positions something they had never before properly discussed were in fact quite advantageous and above all offered promising opportunities for advancement.

”Absurdity of life in Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka,It’s as though Gregor never found his true value in life and he gave up. His life was insignificant like a bug and all there was left to do was die.Absurdity of life in Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka


Absurdity of life in Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka,The structure of the novel was very unique than the standard of exposition, complication, climax and unraveling as Kafka begins with the climax in the first sentence and everything after that is unraveling. The first sentence by Kafka leads the reader into thinking that this is a fantasy, fairy tales or science fiction,

but after that first sentence the narrator treats Gregor’s transformation into an insect in the most literal way possible, forcing the reader to give the story a more or less realist reading.

Kafka also makes it difficult for readers to give the story an allegorical or metaphoric reading or to read it as parable by the reality of his narration. Any critical reader after reading the first line will immediately try to interpret the story in a metaphoric way and conclude that perhaps modern man has become an insect .

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