This essay depicts the self tribulations that two men, Gregor Samsa and Meursault deal with in their separate yet similar lives. It also depicts their tragic ends and their attitudes towards men, law, religion and society. The two gives the expectations that man, religion, law and society have on fellow men.
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Gregor Samsa is a good hearted young man who works as a salesman to support his family. His transformation to a giant insect has several meanings attached to it. It could mean the kind of life Gregor lived, that of pity, pathetic or unfulfilling. Because of his good nature, he does not feel burdened caring for his family while his father lazy around the house. After his transformation, Gregor still remains optimistic that this situation is temporary and it will soon end. “He feels warm and contented that he was able to afford his family the apartment, and has a hope of sending his sister Grete to a conservatory to study violin.” Despite this, Gregor also sees his metamorphosis as an escape from the pathetic life that he lived before and this gives him a kind of satisfaction.
Gregor is seen to have a mindful and caring outlook to the society as seen towards his relationship to many people. When the office messenger accuses him of financial fraud and claims that that was probably the reason why he did not want to open his bedroom door, he tries to no avail explaining what has happened to him. He also has emotional attachment to people around him, “He sneaks to the parlour when he hears his sister play the violin” and “ runs after Grete” when he sensed he had caused harm to their mother and Grete ran out of the room to get her medicine.
Gregor’s spirit later succumbs to the cruelty that he sensed around him and dies. He sees the society as cruel as his father hits him with an apple, and his loving sister changes. She became assertive, strong and the bread winner of the family, she took care of Gregor but with time, could not stand his sight and at the end, she proposed that the family could not accept the bug as her brother Gregor.
There is no mention of Gregor coming into contact with the law or religion. Rather, his contact with man and society, he felt like a stranger because he was not like the others. He lived as a bug, with human emotions. He could not express himself nor eat the normal way, “he talked incoherently when persuaded to open his bedroom door, and when his sister puts milk for him to drink, he found that he was unable to drink it, yet before the transformation, milk was his favourite” This brought about the discrimination and ridicule he received. He “climbed walls as a way of movement and crawled all over the house” When he dies, there is no mention as to whether he received a burial or where his body went to. “The cleaning woman found his frail body the following day…and later, the family moved away”.
Unlike Gregor, Meursault is unemotional, detached and a spiritless man. Meursault received a telegram of his mother’s demise and shows no feelings of loss, he says,” …his mother had died on that day; he is not sure, or yesterday. But that did not mean a thing” When he goes to the mortuary, He “smokes cigarette, drinks coffee and dozes off,” he even declined to view his mother’s remains. At the funeral procession, he is not moved by the mourners who weep for his mother. If anything, he feels disgusted, and all he could think about was,”.this to be over for he wanted to go to bed and sleep” After the funeral he goes to swim with Marie. Meursault shows no interest in his lover Marie when she tells him she loves him, he says that,” it doesn’t matter, but probably not” i.e., that he probably does not love her. When she requests to marry him, he replies coldly that “they can get married if she wants”. Marie tries to maintain their relationship even when he is in jail but he does not seem to notice her efforts. Meursault shows no concern for religion or the sanctity of human life. This is shown when he easily kills Raymond’s mistress’s brother with no particular reason. When he is taken to court, the magistrate calls him “monsieur Antichrist” for he could not believe a man to have no regards of God and be so emotionless of his mother’s demise. During his stay in prison, he does not feel remorse for taking another man’s life, he even feels that the police were being polite with him, yet he did not care what they could do to him. On the day of his execution, he was saddened that not so many people were there to see him. He is asked if he has any last words and he coldly says no.
Meursaults’ connection to the people around him is that of sincererity. He does not feel compelled to act in a particular way either by religion, law, society or even man, in order to be accepted, he does not need acceptance and thinks he can leave alone. This is the strange world that he lives in, a land with no reason to love or feel loved, show no emotion or remorse and a land where he governs himself and his feelings. He does things because he has the time to do them, not the reason. Meursault accepts to witness in court for Raymond even though he has no idea what happened between Raymond and his lover, and he accepts to write a letter a letter for Raymond, simply because he had the time. He exhibits profound confidence with his way of living and thinking, that he does not see it necessary to consider other people’s opinions about his way of life, nor the need to change his way of life.
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In conclusion, Meursault and Gregor are two strangers living with human contact. Mersault does not pretend to display feelings that he does not possess and feels no remorse for not acting in the way society expects him to and this brings about his death. On the other hand, Gregor has a good heart and has emotions attachment to those around him, and yet is mistreated by those he cares about. And as such he ends up dying for it too. Such are the double standards that society puts on us. When you are real to your feelings and to yourself, you hurt those around you and are seen to be heartless and ruthless. Everyone will find fault in what you do, yet when you put considerations to societal norms and agreed upon ways of behaving, the society itself treats you like a stranger when you most need it. As human beings living in a society with governments, families, kinship and religion, it is important to find balance between these important components of society and at the same time, feel actualized and appreciated. This is the confusion will all go through and find ourselves living as loners when we are surrounded by people all over.