Alienation and Capitalism in Kafka’s ‘The Metamorphosis’

Disclaimer: This post has been by far my most popular, to the point where I feel I need to include this disclaimer. I would not be surprised if many people who arrive here are high school or university students. I want to say that this is not my best work; I think my reading is overly simplistic. I’m sorry if you don’t find what you’re looking for here, I remember how frustrating that could be as a student. But anyway, I appreciate you being here and I hope that you do find something of value for your learning.

If you’ve never read Kafka before, you might be a bit perplexed as you start The Metamorphosis. Gregor Samsa has woken to find that he has transformed into a ‘monstrous verminous bug’ (Kafka 1). As he struggles to get out of bed, the one thing on his mind is his job, and whether he can make it to work on time. At no point does Gregor question why he has transformed into a cockroach. As Kafka proceeds to describe Gregor’s “armour-hard back” and “brown, arched abdomen”, and Gregor reflects on how terribly demanding his work is, the absurdity of the situation escalates (1). The Metamorphosis serves as a dark critique of the dehumanising and alienating nature of capitalism.

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