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The Metamorphosis: use of comedy and irony

Uploaded by kiki0013 on Mar 30, 2000

To what extent did Kafka use comedy/irony to develop his tragic, cynical view of society and family?
Gregor Samsa, a young traveling salesman who lives with and financially supports his parents and younger sister, Grete, wakes up one morning to find "himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin" or insect. At first, to my surprise, he is preoccupied with practical, everyday concerns: How to get out of bed and walk with his numerous legs? Can he still make it to the office on time? Most persons would be devastated to find themselves in such a position as Gregor, but he did not seem to care much about himself, but only about his obligations, instead of panicking, he starts cursing his job : "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 piece 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." This is a sort of dry humour; a person in a tragic situation does not seem to notice the predicament he is in. He tries to get out of bed, but his new form does not enable him to do the things he used to do so easily. The way he describes it, can already be seen as comical : "First he tried to get out of bed with the lower part of his body, but this lower part- which by the way he had not seen yet and which he could not form a clear picture of- proved too difficult to budge; it was taking so long; and when finally, almost out of his mind, he lunged forward with all his force, without caring, he had picked the wrong direction and slammed himself violently against the lower bedpost,", just imagine a giant beetle trying to climb out his bed and clumsily hurting himself in the process. Kafka definitely seemed to love the comic sides of what might otherwise have been seen as a hopeless situation. But it is not the metamorphosis itself that is relevant, it is the reaction of the world around it. Gregor’s family might not change...

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Uploaded by:   kiki0013

Date:   03/30/2000

Category:   Literature

Length:   4 pages (956 words)

Views:   1355

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