Though difficult to interpret, The Metamorphosis is a highly figurative text. Upon close inspection of Kafka's works, an elucidation can be found. Kafka uses objects, events, and people to illustrate or represent certain ideas, or more complicated thoughts. Unusual from the start, the plot of the novel does not make coherent sense. Kafka never addresses or even answers the major question implicit in the text such as how did Gregor become a bug and why. The Metamorphosis can be interpreted in several different ways; all depending exclusively on the reader's acceptance of this transformation.
The following key recurring objects and actions are to be noted throughout the novel;
- Existence of human beings is unexplainable.
- The universe is often hostile and apparently apathetic to humans.
- Worry, loneliness, and misery are part of life.
- Though freedom of choice may exist, these choices have consequences.
- Life is judged according to the experiences of each individual.
In the metamorphosis, Kafka uses Gregor's new physical form and transformation in the story to express the above ideas and recurring actions. Kafka uses various symbols and elements in the novel to illustrate that the universe is often hostile and apparently apathetic to humans. Gregor once used to provide for his entire family’s need (Kafka, Metamorphosis). It can be noted that the family come to view Gregor as a burden during the course of the story.
It was not only Gregor who underwent this transformation. Other family members also experienced a transformation; especially his sister was amongst the first to lose the ability to continue tolerating the presence of Gregor in the house (Kafka, Metamorphosis). When Gregor mutates to an insect, the family members’ attitudes and actions toward Gregor changed (Kafka, Metamorphosis).
In the metamorphosis, Kafka uses the story to exemplify that life is judged according to the experiences of each individual. Once a self dependent individual who used to provide for his family, Gregor underwent a dramatic and catastrophic transformation which changed how he relates to others (Kafka, Metamorphosis). These are the responses the author would expect in such a catastrophic and dramatic transformation.
The recurrence of the number three can be well noted throughout the novel: three doors into Gregor's room, three other members of the family, three tenants, and so on. This may be a religious theme or reference that Kafka is creating in his work.