Thoughts of a monstrous insect called Gregor Samsa
(“When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous insect.” The metamorphosis by Franz Kafka)
My chief lepidopterist says I am not a roach but a dung beetle cap’ble of flight .Alas, if only I knew this hidden truth! It was my insect’s fears preying on my soft underside and it remained unaware of the silky wings that sit on my sides.It was the bread crumbs thrown at me by my sis that closed the gap ‘tween mind’s body and bliss.If only I knew I could fly from these smelly holes through the window and land this body on lawn ,so it smells the freshest dung that rolled on grass.
I was thinking whether Kafka’s story of a traveling salesman waking up one morning to find himself transformed into a giant insect could be classified as a tragic tale. What are the tragic elements of the story except perhaps the insect’s unhappy end? The transformation itself is not tragic because it made no difference to the insect whether it was a traveling salesman in its earlier form and it never felt sad about it. An “absurd “story has some tragic elements but only those which underline the futility of all human existence.
Not finding inherent tragedy in the insect’s tale, I find it easy to sublimate the resultant artistic experience by looking at the insect’s tragedy, per se. I mean I don’t look at Gregor Samsa’s tragic experience of a metamorphosis into an insect but the insect’s own tragic experience of not realizing its flying capability .A dung beetle unable to realize its potential for flying .Probably because it was Kafka’s own limitation that the insect had to be monstrous and monstrous dung beetles cannot fly .The tragedy of the beetle was that it cannot over-reach itself.