The Metamorphosis Summary

Key Info

  • Title: The Metamorphosis 
  • Author: Franz Kafka (1883-1924)
  • Written: 1912
  • Published: 1915
  • Genre: Modernism, Absurdism, Existentialism
  • Setting: Gregor’s apartment.


  • Gregor Samsa: Gregor is the protagonist of this novella. He is a traveling salesman. Gregor suffers a lot because of his unexpected transformation. 
  • Grete Samsa: Gregor’s 17-year-old sister. First, she has a good relationship with him. Later, Grete also feds up with Gregor’s transformation. 
  • Father: Gregor’s father leads a very idle life. Gregor has to pay his debts. After his transformation, his father shows no sympathy towards him rather he hits Gregor several times.
  • Mother: Gregor’s mother is a sick woman. She also reacts to Gregor’s transformation and wants to get rid of him.
  • The Boarders: After Gregor’s transformation, his family has kept three boarders to earn extra. 
  • Maid: Gregor’s father hires a maid to take care of the family. 


  • Transformation 
  • Family
  • Money


The Metamorphosis is a novella written by Franz Kafka which was published in 1915. The story revolves around the metamorphosis of the main character Gregor Samsa. In this novella, Franz Kafka criticizes the various ideas of society. A reflection of his own life can be seen in The Metamorphosis. Kafka depicts a picture of his relationship with his own family through Gregor. He felt like an insect in an authoritative family. He only had a good relationship with his sister Ottla. Kafka was forced into a job as a clerk that he hated. He worked in an office during the day but woke up at night to write fiction. He suffered from severe depression throughout his life and eventually committed suicide.


One, Transformation

Gregor Samsa is a traveling salesman. One morning he wakes up to find that he has transformed into a huge bug. He looks around the room, seeing everything as before. He thinks it is a nightmare and decides to go back to sleep. He wants to move, but cannot because of the abnormal changes in his body. Many new legs have grown on his body which makes him feel very bad. He thinks how difficult the life of a salesman is. His entire family depends on his income which he cannot avoid even if he wants to. So he has to go to work. Gregor looks at the clock to see that he overslept and missed his train to work.

Gregor’s mother comes to the door and knocks. When he goes to answer to his mother, he notices his voice is completely changed. Gregor’s family thinks he may be sick so he can’t answer the door. Gregor tries to open the door but fails. He is unable to move with this altered body. Meanwhile, he hears his manager’s voice. His manager comes to their house because he didn’t go to work today. He tries to move a little on the floor and says he will open the door in a moment.

From the other side of the door, the manager warns him of the consequences of skipping work and tells him that his work has not been very satisfactory lately. After hearing this, Gregor tries to say something. But neither his family nor his manager understands him. They suspect something serious has happened. Since Gregor has no hands, he becomes able to open the door with his mouth with great difficulty. He apologizes to the manager. But seeing such a terrible change in his body, the manager gets scared and runs out of the house. Gregor’s father pushes him hard with a stick and sends him back to his room. He gets injured. All in all, Gregor is exhausted and falls asleep.

Two, Gregor’s Changed Life

Gregor wakes up to find that someone has brought bread and milk to his room. Excited to eat, he can’t taste the milk. But once milk was his favorite food. He lies quietly under a sofa. The next morning his sister Grete arrives to find that Gregor has not even touched the milk. Seeing this, Grete brings some rotten food and gives it to Gregor. He eats them with great fun. Since then, Grete feeds him and cleans the room. Gregor hides under the couch so Greet won’t be afraid of his sister. Gregor spends most of his time listening to his family’s conversations from the other side of the wall. Often they discuss the family’s miserable financial condition. Since Gregor is now unable to earn any income, they are in a financial crisis. Gregor’s mother wants to see him, but his father and sister prevent her.

Gregor is now very much adjusted to the new body. He can climb walls, and walk around on ceilings. Seeing this, Grete decides to remove some furniture from Gregor’s room so that he can move around comfortably. Grete and her mother start moving furniture together. Gregor’s favorite picture hung on the wall. He is about to take it down when his mother sees him and is terrified. Grete shouts at Gregor at this. It was the first time anyone has spoken to him directly since his transformation. Gregor runs from the room to the kitchen. Gregor’s father has just returned home from his new job. He thinks that Gregor may have tried to attack his mother. Thinking this, he throws apples at Gregor. An apple stuck behind him. He manages to run to his room but is mortally wounded.

Three, Gregor Is Now a Trouble

Gregor’s family keeps the door of his room open during certain times of the day so that Gregor can see everyone. He stares at the loss the family has suffered due to his transformation. Even Grete doesn’t talk to Gregor like she used to anymore. His family has replaced the old maid with a new maid at a lower cost. This woman occasionally talks to Gregor. His family removes the furniture from one part of the house and keeps three new borders. Extra furniture is placed in Gregor’s room which he doesn’t like at all. Meanwhile, he doesn’t like the food that Grete brings him. He almost stops eating and drinking.

One evening the maid opens the door of Gregor’s room. The borders are sitting in the living room gossiping. Meanwhile, Greet was asked to play the violin. Gregor loves Grete’s violin playing. He comes out of the room listening. One border is suddenly frightened by Gregor. Gregor’s father tells the borders to go room. But they are not willing to listen to anything. At this point, they threaten to leave without paying the rent.

Grete becomes angry and tells her parents that their life will end if they do not escape from Gregor. His father agrees and tells Gregor to go somewhere else and spare them.

Four, Gregor’s Death

Gregor understands everything and goes to his room. He dies that day and frees his family from his clutches. The maid disposes of his body.

After his death, his family feels relief. His father dismisses the borders. Then they let their maid go too. After that, they all go to visit the village and think about their beautiful future. They are very financially prosperous now. They also think of moving to a new apartment. Grete’s parents start thinking about her marriage.

Read Also: A Doll’s House Summary

Mr. Abdullah
Mr. Abdullah

Mr. Abdullah is a passionate love of Literature. Researcher and Lecturer of English Literature and Language.

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