Study Guide

Mrs. Samsa in The Metamorphosis

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Mrs. Samsa

Mrs. Samsa is the sympathetic yin to Mr. Samsa's domineering yang. She's constantly proclaiming her maternal love for her poor, poor son Gregor—she even throws herself on Mr. Samsa to beg for Gregor's life:

[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)

Mrs. Samsa, however, can't quite stomach the sight of Gregor and goes into wheezing fits every time she sees him. Her hysterical reaction to Gregor suggests that she may be carried away more by the idea of maternal love than its gross reality.

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