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The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis


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.

Quote #1

[The picture] showed a lady done up in a fur hat and a fur boa, sitting upright and raising up against the viewer a heavy fur muff in which her whole forearm had disappeared. (1.2)

Many critics feel that this portrait could be a reference to Leopold Sacher-Masoch's Venus in Furs. Yup, that's the text that put the masoch- in masochism, a condition where people find pain sexually gratifying. The fact that Gregor just recently snipped out this photograph and hung it up on his wall suggests that Gregor may be thinking lusty thoughts. The story also later comments that he has nice memories of a chambermaid on one of his trips – a sexual affair, perhaps?

Quote #2

"The head of the firm did suggest to me this morning a possible explanation for your tardiness – it concerned the cash payments recently entrusted to you – but really, I practically gave my word of honor that this explanation could not be right" (1.19)

In addition to possible sexual deviance in Quote #1, Quote #2 suggests that Gregor may be guilty of misconduct at his firm. We never find out what really happened to those cash payments, although Gregor insists that he's done nothing irregular.

Quote #3

[H]e would have to lie low and, by being patient and showing his family every possible consideration, help them bear the inconvenience which he simply had to cause them in his present condition. (2.6)

Here we have one of the first instances of the term "consideration," which seems to stand for whatever is the right or the most appropriate way of dealing with the situation. Gregor suggests here that the best thing he can do is to not be a bother, which might be wise considering that everything he does is construed as an attack.

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