In the novel “The Metamorphosis” written by Franz Kafka, the Guilt of Gregor is one of the major themes. One morning, Gregor wakes up as an insect, and his family blames him for what happened to him. Whenever he thinks that his family is facing hardships because he has lost the ability to work and support them, or whenever his family converses on the topic of money, he becomes filled with immense guilt despite the fact that the metamorphosis into an insect is not his fault. Guilt becomes his most powerful emotion.
”Here you are…causing your parents a lot of unnecessary trouble and neglecting…your business duties in an incredible fashion…”
Gregor’s supervisor makes that remark to Gregor when he goes to his home and demands why he is late. Gregor is a dedicated traveling fabric salesman and takes pleasure in earning and providing for his family. One morning, Gregor overslept, which caused him to be late for work. His supervisor instantly reaches his home and demands the reason for his being late. The above-mentioned remarks of the chief clerk play a major role in fanning his guilt for failing his employer later when he becomes an insect for not supporting his family.
“At first, whenever the need for earning money was mentioned, Gregor let go of his hold on the door and threw himself down on the cool leather sofa beside it; he felt so hot with shame and grief.”
These lines explicitly show the impact of guilt on Gregor. After the metamorphoses, Gregor’s parents start to earn to support the family but the income is too low to fulfill the needs of the family. The whole family remains worried about their future. He watches his father’s health deteriorating every day due to work. They take three renters to live with them for extra cash. His father is often bitter about their condition and says, “This is the peace and quiet of my old age.” Comments like these increase Gregor’s guilt for being a financial burden, though they do not spend much money on him.
“But what if all the quiet, the comfort, the contentment were now to end in horror?”
In these lines, Gregor is contemplating the quality of life of his family. Gregor is also filled with the thought that he is not fit to live with his family because he is a disgusting, giant insect. This guilt stems from his anxiety that he might crash something in the house. His sister, Grete, becomes more compassionate and attends to his needs, but his sight is repulsive to her, his mother is altogether hesitant and fearful, and his father becomes hostile towards him.
Gregor’s guilt turns out to be fatal as he comprehends in the end that the only thing that is keeping his family from a good life is his existence. He takes his own life for his family out of his enormous guilt.