The Metamorphosis Marxism Analysis

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Marxist Criticism of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis follows the psychological downfall of a travelling salesman, Gregor Samsa, who loses everything but his subconscious after transforming into a vermin. The novella is the epitome of ontological magic realism, where Gregor’s surreal metamorphosis is described in a flat, matter-of-fact tone; but a reading through the lens of Marxist literary criticism reveals Kafka’s social commentary on capitalist societies. Kafka uses the metamorphosis as a symbol of Gregor’s succumbence to familial and social pressure, as it removes his responsibilities and his spine and takes away his ability to work. Hence, Gregor’s gradual undoing illustrates the results of a worker’s inability to work in a society of stratified social classes: alienation and death.

Gregor Samsa is forced to labour as a traveling salesman, and is burdened with his parents’ debt along with having to financially support his family. In the opening stages of the novella, Gregor comments on his
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Gregor’s death is a metaphorical one. It symbolises the eventual results of a proletariat’s inability to labour in the capitalist society. Gregor’s death, to his family’s relief, removed him from the role of being a financial burden. His father said, upon hearing the news, “Well… now we can thank God!” (Kafka, 52). Finally free from the economic burden of supporting Gregor, the family leave the home to enjoy the warm sunshine. They do not reminisce about their lost son, and instead, discuss the economic benefits of his death and of their future financial plans. This is particularly clear in Grete’s “metamorphosis.” Having “blossomed into a good-looking, shapely girl,” Grete becomes a valuable asset, as she can find a husband who will replace Gregor as the labourer or the proletariat of the family (Kafka, 55). What the family cares about is not the growth of their daughter, but the economic benefits that her future husband would bring
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