Sunday, January 15, 2012
Kafka's "Metamorphosis" & "Judgment"
Kafka's "Metamorphosis" & "Judgment": Even though the above video refers to what is perhaps Franz Kafka's most famous short story, "The Metamorphosis" (Die Verwandlung), it's another one of his short stories, namely "The Judgment" (Das Urteil), which contains equally profound existentialist themes. Published in 1912, Kafka's "Judgment" embodies the modern psycho-social intricacies that tend to define the father-son relationship. A father's demands often weigh heavily on a son, and that is precisely what occurs in "The Judgment." Since Kafka was familiar with the writings of Nietzsche and Freud, he frequently incorporated a kind of existential psychology into his literary works. In "The Metamorphosis," for example, Kafka uses an absurdist approach to the problems of existential thought and primordial pain, as the story's protagonist, Gregor Samsa, attempts to cope with the morphing of his physical body into a bug. While in "The Judgment," Kafka conveys a personal reflection of the story's main character, Georg Bendemann, on his father's criticisms. These criticisms become so severe that Georg is no longer able internalize them. As a result, he commits suicide by leaping from one of the many bridges that span the Vltava River in Prague.