The Metamorphosis

Gregor Samsa Character Analysis

Gregor is a young traveling salesman who suddenly transforms into a giant cockroach. Before his transformation, his main concern is providing for his family. He resents the stresses of traveling for work, and dislikes his coworkers, but he is devoted to his work and hopes to even earn enough to pay for his sister Grete's violin lessons at the Conservatorium, as well as the living expenses of his feeble, sedentary mother and father. When Gregor physically transforms, his personality gradually transforms as well. He becomes unable to understand his family's behaviors or motivations, and fails to communicate or even interact with them without causing them panic. Gregor becomes much more focused on bodily concerns such as his crawling, his appetite, and his aches and pains, even as he attempts to retain a connection to his humanity, through his memories, his love of his print of the lady with the muff, and his appreciation for Grete's music. Though he comes to resent his family for neglecting him, Gregor continues to love them and want the best for them, all the way to his tragic demise.

Gregor Samsa Quotes in The Metamorphosis

The The Metamorphosis quotes below are all either spoken by Gregor Samsa or refer to Gregor Samsa. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Mind vs. Body Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Schocken Books edition of The Metamorphosis published in 1995.
Section 1 Quotes

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.

Related Characters: Gregor Samsa
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:

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You amaze me, you amaze me. I thought you were a quiet, dependable person, and now all at once you seem bent on making a disgraceful exhibition of yourself.

Related Characters: Chief Clerk (speaker), Gregor Samsa
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

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The chief clerk must be detained, soothed, persuaded and finally won over; the whole future of Gregor and his family depended on it!

Related Characters: Gregor Samsa, Chief Clerk
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:

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Section 2 Quotes

"What a quiet life our family has been leading," said Gregor to himself, and as he sat there motionless staring into the darkness he felt great pride in the fact that he had been able to provide such a life for his parents and sister in such a fine flat. But what if all the quiet, the comfort, the contentment were now to end in horror?

Related Characters: Gregor Samsa (speaker), Grete Samsa, Father, Mother
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:

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…He must lie low for the present and, by exercising patience and the utmost consideration, help the family to bear the inconvenience he was bound to cause them in his present condition.

Related Characters: Gregor Samsa
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:

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At first whenever the need for earning money was mentioned Gregor let go his hold on the door and threw himself down on the cool leather sofa beside it, he felt so hot with shame and grief.

Related Characters: Gregor Samsa
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:

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If he could have spoken to her and thanked her for all she had to do for him, he could have borne her ministrations better; as it was, they oppressed him.

Related Characters: Gregor Samsa, Grete Samsa
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:

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Do let me in to Gregor, he is my unfortunate son! Can't you understand that I must go to him?

Related Characters: Mother (speaker), Gregor Samsa
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:

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Nothing should be taken out of his room; everything must stay as it was; he could not dispense with the good influence of the furniture on his state of mind; and even if the furniture did hamper him in his senseless crawling round and round, that was no drawback but a great advantage.

Related Characters: Gregor Samsa
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:

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Section 3 Quotes

The serious injury done to Gregor, which disabled him for more than a month—the apple went on sticking in his body as a visible reminder, since no one ventured to remove it—seemed to have made even his father recollect that Gregor was a member of the family, despite his present unfortunate and repulsive shape, and ought not to be treated as an enemy, that, on the contrary, family duty required the suppression of disgust and the exercise of patience, nothing but patience.

Related Characters: Gregor Samsa, Father
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

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Instead of being allowed to disturb him so senselessly whenever the whim took her, she should rather have been ordered to clean out his room daily, that charwoman!

Related Characters: Gregor Samsa, Charwoman
Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:

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"I'm hungry enough," said Gregor sadly to himself, "but not for that kind of food. How these lodgers are stuffing themselves, and here I am dying of starvation!"

Related Characters: Gregor Samsa (speaker), Gregor Samsa, The lodgers
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:

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He felt hardly any surprise at his growing lack of consideration for the others; there had been a time when he prided himself on being considerate.

Related Characters: Gregor Samsa
Related Symbols: Grete's violin
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

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Was he an animal, that music had such an effect on him?

Related Characters: Gregor Samsa
Related Symbols: Grete's violin
Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:

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We must try to get rid of it. We've tried to look after it and to put up with it as far as is humanly possible, and I don't think anyone could reproach us in the slightest.

Related Characters: Grete Samsa (speaker), Gregor Samsa, Grete Samsa
Page Number: 124
Explanation and Analysis:

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But how can it be Gregor? If this were Gregor, he would have realized long ago that human beings can't live with such a creature, and he'd have gone away on his own accord.

Related Characters: Grete Samsa (speaker), Gregor Samsa, Grete Samsa
Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:

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He thought of his family with tenderness and love.

Related Characters: Gregor Samsa
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:

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Gregor Samsa Character Timeline in The Metamorphosis

The timeline below shows where the character Gregor Samsa appears in The Metamorphosis. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Section 1
Mind vs. Body Theme Icon
Gregor wakes up and finds that he's turned into a huge cockroach (or other vermin—the text... (full context)
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Gregor examines his body, immediately understanding that he isn't dreaming. He looks around his room, containing... (full context)
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Gregor frets about his exhausting job. He notices that his belly itches, but when he touches... (full context)
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Gregor's mother knocks to wake him, and Gregor thanks her in a strangely squeaky voice. Gregor's... (full context)
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Gregor expects that once he gets up he'll feel better. However, he finds it hard to... (full context)
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Gregor's boss, the Chief Clerk, arrives at the door, just as Gregor falls to the carpet.... (full context)
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Gregor refuses to open his door for the Chief Clerk, and Grete begins to cry. The... (full context)
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The Chief Clerk doesn't understand Gregor's speech, and exclaims that a human couldn't have made such noises. Gregor's mother begins to... (full context)
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Gregor finally gets the door open, shocking the Chief Clerk, his father and mother. His father... (full context)
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In a long speech, Gregor states his loyalty to his company and asks the Chief Clerk, "Stand up for me... (full context)
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Gregor's father tries to force Gregor back into his bedroom with a cane and newspaper. Gregor... (full context)
Section 2
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Gregor wakes up at nightfall. He notices that his side and one of his legs still... (full context)
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Gregor notices that his father isn't reading to Grete, though it is a nighttime tradition. Gregor... (full context)
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In the morning, Grete checks on Gregor, and is still shocked by his state. She notices the uneaten milk and bread and... (full context)
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Grete covertly feeds Gregor again in the afternoon, when their father, mother, and the servant girl won't notice. Gregor... (full context)
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Gregor overhears his father explaining the family's financial position, which is fairly stable because of their... (full context)
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Gregor often has trouble sleeping, and his eyesight worsens, so he can barely make out anything... (full context)
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A month after Gregor's transformation, Grete enters to find Gregor on the chair instead of under the couch as... (full context)
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Gregor's mother and father don't enter with Grete but they are curious about him. After two... (full context)
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Grete disagrees with Gregor's mother and they work to remove the chest. Gregor feels agitated by all the movement... (full context)
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Grete returns, sees Gregor on the wall, and attempts to get their mother from the room without her noticing.... (full context)
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Gregor's father returns. Grete calls from Gregor's bedroom that Gregor has escaped, and Gregor's father responds... (full context)
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Gregor's father, however, is "not in the mood to perceive such fine distinctions," and excitedly yells... (full context)
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As Gregor gets tired of running, Gregor's father begins to throw apples at him. One apple hits... (full context)
Section 3
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Gregor's injury incapacitates him for more than a month, and the apple remains embedded in his... (full context)
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Gregor understands that the stresses on his family have made Grete, his mother and father less... (full context)
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Gregor imagines returning to work and being able to help his family, thinks about his friends,... (full context)
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The charwoman finds Gregor one day and is neither disgusted nor frightened by him. In fact, she likes to... (full context)
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...income. To make things comfortable for the lodgers, the family dumps clutter and trash in Gregor's room. Gregor barely eats and feels sad and tired even though he enjoys climbing around... (full context)
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One night, for the first time since the transformation as far as Gregor knows, Grete begins to play the violin. The lodgers ask her to come play for... (full context)
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Gregor creeps into the living room, though he is filthy and can't be bothered to clean... (full context)
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Gregor wants to come closer so that he can indicate to Grete how much he loves... (full context)
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The lodgers notice Gregor and alert Gregor's father. At first, the lodgers are amused, but then they become concerned.... (full context)
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...will not pay the family, and that he might sue. The other lodgers follow suit. Gregor's father and mother are extremely upset, and Gregor's mother drops the violin. Gregor stays still... (full context)
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...she wants to get rid of "this creature," whom she no longer thinks of as Gregor. She thinks the family has done as much as they could. Grete says that "it,"... (full context)
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Intentions vs. Outcomes Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
Grete again asserts that the cockroach can't understand them and is no longer Gregor: "If this were Gregor, he would have realized long ago that human beings can't live... (full context)
Mind vs. Body Theme Icon
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Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
Gregor goes back to his room with extreme difficulty because of his injuries and weakness. His... (full context)
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Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
The charwoman comes the following morning and thinks Gregor is trying to trick her. She pokes him with a broom before realizing that he's... (full context)
Mind vs. Body Theme Icon
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Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
...about their future careers and their plans to move away from their current apartment, which Gregor picked, to a cheaper and better located one. Grete's mother and father both realize that... (full context)