Posted: August 29th, 2013
Compare Ovid’s and Kafka’s Metamorphosis
There are instances where people exile either by death or by transformation. In this case, people ask the question whether they control their own destiny or not. Additionally, when changes occur can they be controlled. It is easy to learn them, but it is not easy to control them. Moreover, people often ask themselves whether these changes can be described when they are likely to occur. In general, people often blame others for their own mistakes. This is human nature. To explain the questions the comparison of the stories, ‘The Metamorphosis’ by Frank Kafka and ‘Books of Transformation’ by Ovid will be done in this essay.
The story by Kafka is about Gregor Samsa who wakes one day to find himself to have transformed into a giant insect like creature. In this case, Gregor tries everything to get back to his normal self, but this is impossible. As the title of the book suggests, it is a transformation. This is compatible to the story where Gregor. This transformation angers Gregor due to the love he has for his family and he has to help them at these difficult times. Finally, Gregor dies leaving his family without happiness, but his departure is also a blessing to them because he was stressing them more than when dead.
The other story by Ovid is about a transformation of the world since the time it was started. A poem explains about love, and how love has transformed. It is general, that is, it can be personal or personified. The story shows how the different gods of the Greeks are being mocked due to their love story. The story also shows how the different gods have transformed which has been caused by love. There is one instance where the Caesar soul is transformed into a star. Therefore, this story has massive information about transformation. Additionally, this story has many answers for the questions.
The theme of exile has been described by the two stories clearly. However, for the purposes of understanding the theme well, the two stories have to be analyzed separately. Ovid has used love to show the theme of exile. The theme of exile is about transformation or death. In this case, Ovid has the two. “But Iphis and Chaurus are also linked in a deeper way. Although she is a girl, Iphis falls in love with another girl to whom she as a he has betrothed” (192). In addition, there he has shown how the theme of exile by death. This is where Ovid has used the death of Caesar to show exile. “Julius Caesar had an allotted span of tempora, which he filled up in March (as Jupiter points to Venus, Hic sua conpleuit…! Tempora. Perfectis, quos terrae debuit, annis ‘he has completed his times, and finished the years that he owed to the earth” (Ovid 44). This shows the theme of exile by death.
In the story, ‘The Metamorphosis’ by Kafka the theme of exile by transformation has been shown through out the story. In this story, Gregor a sales executive wakes up to find himself to have transformed into another insect like creature. “One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he has been changed into a monstrous verminous bug” (Kafka 1). In this case, Gregor transformed when he was sleeping from a human being to an insect like creatures. This shows that the theme of exile by transformation has similarly been used in the two stories by the two authors.
Another transformation that has been shown in the story by Kafka is the transformation of his sound and the transformation of his mind. When Gregor woke and tried to talk to his family, they were not able to understand him. This is because his voice had changed and they could not understand. This shows that Gregor’s voice has transformed from that of the human beings to that of the insect like creature. Additionally, the mind of Gregor has changed from that of a human being to that of the insect like creature.
The other question is that whether man has the power to change his destiny. According the story of Kafka, man has no ability to change his destiny. Destiny is deemed to be beyond man’s control because it has been set by a higher being than man and only He can change the destiny. “At first he wanted to get of the bed with the lower part of the body, but this lower (which he incidentally had not yet looked at and which he also couldn’t picture clearly) proved itself too difficult to move” (Kafka 4). This shows that despite how Gregor tried to change his destiny it was not possible for her to change her destiny. Therefore, there is no way man can change his own destiny.
Additionally, in the same story by Kafka, Gregor was not able to change his own destiny. This is because he could not have died. Instead, he died slowly in his bed. After the transformation, the diet of Gregor had changed drastically. The food that he was used to eating he could no longer eat because they were no longer in his diet. Gregor starved to death because there was nothing he could do about the destiny that had befallen him despite all the things he had tried to change the destiny.
In the story by Ovid, this is similar because there are instances where the characters are not able to change their destiny. Apollo, one of the characters in the story, was able to change his destiny from being destroyed. Apollo is believed to be one of the most powerful Greek gods. However, this was not to change because he was able to change his destiny from happening. He continued to become the strongest god among the Greek gods. In this case, it can be said that man can change his own destiny. However, it can be argued that Apollo was a god, hence he was able to change his own destiny, but man is not able because he is not in the same level as Apollo. Henceforth, this can show that a god can change his own destiny, but man is not able to do so.
It can be said that it is not easy to know when the transformation will occur. This is because it is above the wisdom of man. In the story by Kafka, Gregor did not know that he was going to transform. Gregor slept when he was a human being, but woke up to find himself an insect like creature. “One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he has been changed into a monstrous verminous bug” (Kafka 1). In this situation, Gregor woke up to his surprise to find that he had already transformed into an insect like creature. For this reason, man is not able to predict when the transformations are likely to occur.
Additionally, the transformation the transformation is extremely fast when it occurs. As seen above in the story by Kafka, Gregor transformation was incredibly sudden. Such a transformation could have taken where the legs could have first grown. It should have taken a few days for the back to change. This transformation should have taken months to grow. However, in the case of Gregory, the transformation was sudden. It only took one night for the changes to occur. “One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he has been changed into a monstrous verminous bug” (Kafka 1). This shows that Gregor slept as human being but instead he woke up as an insect like creature. Henceforth, the transformation is usually gradual.
As apparent by both the writers, the events and incidents are to other events as a mean of placing blame. For instance, all through the story by Ovid he has a tendency of placing blame to the past for all the things that are currently happening. Similar explanation can be seen in the work of Kafka when he talks about marriage and couples. He relates blame with things like advice that did not have a positive effect on either individual, who would end up blaming the other. This is a human nature for people to keep on blaming other people for their own mistakes. For this fact, the two stories have shown the nature of man where he places his own mistakes on others.
Among the most obvious are those concerning the treatment of a society authoritarian and bureaucratic to the individual differently, where it is isolated and misunderstood to immense and monotonous institutional machinery that he understands neither it nor understands it. The myths in Ovid so often encountered stories about transformation, in which usually a human or a lower God transforms into the thing like a plant, an animal or a constellation. “Julius Caesar had an allotted span of tempora, which he filled up in March (as Jupiter points to Venus, Hic sua conpleuit…! Tempora. Perfectis, quos terrae debuit, annis ‘he has completed his times, and finished the years that he owed to the earth” (Ovid 44). Other themes include the loneliness of broken relationships and the desperate and unrealistic hopes that create such isolation.
The theme of exile is the main theme in the two stories. There is evidence shown by the two writers that the two authors have shown the two parts of exile, transformation and death. In addition, they have described that transformation is not predictable by man. This is because it is beyond man’s knowledge. Moreover, man cannot be able to change his own destiny. On the issue of whether transformation is gradual, the stories have shown that transformation is gradual. Lastly, it is human nature for human beings to place blame on other people for mistakes they have committed.
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