by Franz Kafka
The Metamorphosis Morality and Ethics Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph). We used Stanley Corngold's translation.
[H]e saw, hanging conspicuously on the wall, which was otherwise bare already, the picture of the lady all dressed in furs, hurriedly crawled up on it and pressed himself against the glass, which gave a good surface to stick to and soothed his hot belly. (2.25)
This passage might support the sexually deviant view of Gregor – that is, if he weren't a bug. There's something comically lewd about this scene as Gregor relieves his "hot belly" against a picture.
[Gregor] saw his mother run up to his father and on the way her unfastened petticoats slide to the floor one by one; and saw as, stumbling over the skirts, she forced herself onto his father, and embracing him, in complete union with him – but now Gregor's sight went dim – her hands clasping his father's neck, begged for Gregor's life. (2.28)
The story lays on the Freudian melodrama pretty thick here. The mother is almost undressed as she embraces the father, "in complete union"? The language is unmistakably sexual. It's as if the story were trying to make the mother look as ridiculous as possible. However, she does serve a voice of ethical responsibility here, reminding the father that Gregor is still his son and still deserving of some, well, consideration.
It hardly surprised him that lately he was showing so little consideration for the others; once such consideration had been his greatest pride. (3.13)
It probably doesn't surprise you much either that Gregor has become less considerate. The story asks us to consider why Gregor has become less considerate. It could just be months of isolation and neglect from his family. Or it could be the bug side of him taking over his personality. On the other hand, how inconsiderate is Gregor, really? Aren't his actions kind of limited by the fact that he's a bug?