Identity In Ovid's Metamorphosis

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Franz Kafka, heavily influenced by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, devises the character Gregor Samsa in order to portray a detailed experience of an individual’s metamorphosis. Kafka’s narration style differs greatly from Ovid’s, in that, the narration begins with a first person perspective and changes to a third person narration, which remains consistent to the end of the novel. Unlike the stories within the Metamorphoses, there is a clear contrast in the portrayal of Gregor’s transformation. Ovid and Kafka’s depiction of a metamorphosis incorporates the concept of identity in the individual’s transition, however Kafka emphasizes the family dynamic and the hostility Gregor feels. Gregor’s family’s inability to look past Gregor’s exterior appearance …show more content…

Through the help of the other characters in the novel, Gregor’s metamorphosis becomes more vivid and the change in perspective provides insight that would not have been apparent without the various perspectives. The exclamations are as follows, “’Did you understand a word?’ the manager was asking his parents. […] ‘Go to the doctor’s immediately. Gregor is sick. Hurry, get the doctor. Did you just hear Gregor talking?’ ‘That was a voice of an animal’” (12). Through Gregor’s perspective, one may assume that his response to his manager was heard loud and clear and the only modification to his identity is the physical change he has undergone which highlights the importance of Kafka’s change in perspective. Although Gregor believes himself to be in control of the situation, the third person narration as well as the other character’s remarks reveal quite the opposite. Kafka’s narration style provides different perspectives of the same situation in order to reveal how one may misinterpret the actions of others if the perspective comes from an external viewpoint. The variety in the narrative is essential to the development of Gregor’s character because through the eyes of the other characters his metamorphosis becomes undeniable and ultimately forces Gregor to conform to his new identity due to the way he is treated by his

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