Study Guide

Mr. Samsa in The Metamorphosis

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Mr. Samsa

Daddy Issues

Mr. Samsa, Gregor's father, looms as a domineering figure in the novel. With Gregor incapacitated, Mr. Samsa can no longer malinger as a helpless invalid, and he resumes his place as head of the Samsa household. Despite his humble new occupation as a bank messenger, it comes with a snazzy uniform and a restored sense of authority:

[His father] was holding himself very erect, dressed in a tight-fitting blue uniform with gold buttons, the kind worn by messengers at banking concerns; above the high stiff collar of the jacket his heavy chin protruded; under his bushy eyebrows his black eyes darted bright, piercing glances; his usually rumpled white hair was combed flat, with a scrupulously exact, gleaming part. (2.28)

Mr. Samsa punishes Gregor without establishing Gregor's guilt, and assumes that Gregor has the worst of intentions. By refusing to believe that Gregor might be attempting to explain himself non-verbally, Mr. Samsa also denies Gregor the opportunity to defend himself and proclaim his innocence.

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