The Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary defines existentialism, in part, as “a philosophical theory that … highlights the presence of the specific person … determining their own advancement through acts of the will.” Existentialist work worries the importance of the specific typically denying the “existence of objective values.” Existentialism is focused on choice, as well as the idea that people should exist before they can have any values. The Transformation by Franz Kafka uses Gregor Samsa’s resist existentialist concepts, along with the effects surrounding Gregor’s actions against the existentialist concepts to exhibit a primarily existentialist theme.
Jean-Paul Sartre was the pioneering theorist in the existentialist motion who claimed that “existence preceded essence” and turned down the concepts of older thinkers that human beings had actually a set nature. Human essence describes “… ideas that [are] everlasting and unchanging,” such as those an individual might acquire from following a religion. Aristotle believed the essence of mankind was reason, which factor was what separated human beings from animals (Fiero, 70). Sartre argued that human beings have no predisposition to any sort of being, and presence in a simply physical manner comes first in human concerns. In 1943, psychologist Abraham Maslow theorized that people have a need-based set of priorities, this theory is typically described as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This hierarchy described physiological requirements, such as those for food, water and fundamental physical functions as being the most crucial. The theory also states that needs further up in the hierarchy, for example relationships and familial relationships, can not be satisfied until the levels in the hierarchy below these requirements are met (Noltemeyer, 1). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Requirements is existentialist in nature because people should fulfill physical requirements in order to exist, before being able to have any sort of viewpoint, like a faith, or essence. In The Metamorphosis, Gregor breaks Maslow’s Hierarchy of Requirements after his change, for that reason breaching existentialist concepts.
Gregor Samsa’s mindset about going to work after his improvement is an example of existentialism due to the fact that of the consequences that result when he combats the “presence before essence” concept of existentialism. When challenged with his improvement, Gregor right away tries to return to work, regardless of being changed into a “monstrous vermin” (Kafka, 1). Instead of trusting his nature and guaranteeing his needs as a living being, which are now different from the needs Gregor had prior to his improvement, are fulfilled; Gregor tries to go to work out of responsibility to his family member’s requirements. Gregor is violating Maslow’s theory of the hierarchy of requirements, and trying to meet the love and belonging needs that are pleased when he supports his family before filling his own physiological requirements. These actions go straight against the nature of existentialism, and therefore trigger Gregor physical harm and emotional distress (18, 19). Due to the repercussions of breaching the nature of existentialism, The Metamorphosis can be classified as existentialist since when Gregor’s actions breach the concepts of existentialism, the repercussions are negative.
Existentialism focuses on option as one of the defining elements of human presence. The “freedom to select” was at the heart of human existence and was what made people various from other animals. Humans alone are responsible for their options, in addition to the effects surrounding these choices. Sartre thought that practically all options have more than one alternative and always have more than one outcome to a situation. He likewise declared that male’s options constantly led to negativity due to the fact that hindsight offers people the capability to see the possible outcomes from options they did not make. Sartre thought that to blame an outdoors source for a negative repercussion from one’s actions, or to declare the option made was the only choice readily available is to act in “bad faith” and is “a form of self-deception and inauthenticity” Sartre likewise claimed that people natural anxiety about these options which every choice made was reflection of mankind as a whole (Fiero, 70). The existentialist concepts of option and “existence before essence” coincide with each other in that the choices made by human beings begin to pave the way to the essences that people do not have intrinsically. These choices not just give way to the essence of a person, however define what essence they have. In The Metamorposis, Gregor attempts to break the coupling of these existentialist principals and have an “essence” prior to picking to act one way or another.
Gregor’s situation prior to his improvement in The Metamorphosis is an example of existentialism due to the fact that Gregor’s choice to support his household instead of doing what he wishes results in unfavorable effects he can just see after his choice has been made. Gregor’s household does not work and relies entirely on him to pay the household financial obligation (Kafka, 4). The other members of Gregor’s family have the potential to work, yet none do and Gregor elects to work to support his relative (Cite). Just responsibility to meet his household’s needs, and for that reason his interpersonal needs, compel Gregor to work. Although the argument might be made that Gregor supports his household because he needs to, Gregor in fact supports his family due to the fact that he selects to. This choice leads to Gregor’s pain. Not just is Gregor in physical discomfort from the abuse done unto him by his household, his physiology is in pain too. Gregor stops leaving his room, does not consume and invests his days in pain (43 ). The Transformation is existentialist since Gregor’s option to support to his household ultimately causes unfavorable consequences, and while a standard manner of believing would call Gregor’s support of his household something he should do, it is really something he selects to do, for that reason suffering from the outcome. When Gregor breaks another existentialist principle, the effects are unfavorable.
Existentialism positions the most power in the individual, and The Metamorphosis is an existentialist work because it exhibits how absence of individualism results in death. Gregor loses his uniqueness after his improvement. He is no longer able to do the things he likes to do, or support his household. At the start of the story, Gregor has actually framed a picture of an ad with a pretty woman in a home-made frame, something he enjoys doing (1 ). Gregor does not get to do much, but his wood cutting hobby is something he enjoys. Gregor’s sole purpose in life is to make enough cash to support his household and pay off their financial obligation (4 ). This compulsion makes Gregor a specific and gives his life meaning. When Gregor is not able to work or do any of the activities he might do before his transformation, he loses what makes him an individual. Upon discovering Gregor’s dead body, the Samsa’s maid exclaims “Come and have a look! It’s croaked; it’s lying there dead as a doornail” (52 ). She does not refer to Gregor as “he,” but rather as “it,” totally robbing Gregor of his mankind. Gregor passes away due to the loss of his uniqueness. He is no longer a human remaining in a mental sense, along with physical. As soon as his former passions and function are lost, Gregor is not a specific, and therefore dies after being lowered to something less than human. The events that result in Gregor’s loss of individuality and subsequent death are existentialist in nature. Gregor dies when he loses the chief concept of existentialism, individuality.
Jo Bogaerts as soon as wrote “French existentialism was amongst the very first intellectual movements to bring Kafka vital renown along with prevalent appeal …” (Bogarets, 69). It can be concluded that Kafka’s popularity with French existentialists is because of his work, The Transformation, an example of existentialist literature. Jean-Paul Sartre credited Kafka as wanting to “explain the human condition” (70 ). Kafka achieves an existentialist this existentialist description of the human condition in The Transformation. By demonstrating how the rejection of existentialist principles, including the focus on the person, options, and the idea that a person needs to exists before one can have true values, lead to unfavorable consequences, Kafka champs an existentialist cause.