The Metamorphosis vs Faust: Compare & Contrast
Both stories have different plots, and each author focuses on the specific issues of human existence. At the same time, each of these famous works considers the features of the interaction between people and God. God is particularly important because he serves as a criterion for assessing the actions of the protagonists. In Faust, attention is paid to a person’s ability to resist the influence of the Devil and continue the spiritual path to God. Faust must demonstrate that as a human being, he may be pleasing to God. In turn, in The Metamorphosis, the theme of God is revealed in another plane, in particular, Gregor can be regarded as a man whose actions are similar to the actions and deeds of Jesus Christ in relation to other people. As it is known, Gregor sacrifices his personal interests and needs so his family could live in welfare. Gregor loves his family as much as Christ loved the people, and it has defined his commitment to take care of his family, even at the cost of his own life. It makes sense to consider the transformation of Gregor and his death as a result of his victim, based on the fact that Gregor totally ignored his personal interests for the sake of his family.
As a human being, Faust has an important advantage over others. God loves him and believes that he deserves to be regarded as a holy man. In the face of Faust, God expresses the hope that humanity can withstand a variety of human sins and temptation. His confidence in the mental stability of Faust as well as his ability to preserve the purity of his soul leads to the fact that God makes a bet with Mephistopheles that Faust will be able to resist against various sins. Unlike God, Mephistopheles is sure they will “lose him in the end” (Goethe). In his relation to this issue, Mephistopheles focuses on the fact that all that has earthly origin is prone to sin and depravity. God originally cannot agree with this point of view. For God, Faust’s destiny and life have universal value allowing us to see the meaning in the relationship between humans and God, existence, and non-existence, good and evil. God is convinced that Faust is his faithful servant. One can draw a parallel with the book of Job, which also examines the relationship between human nature and the divine. Unfortunately, Faust turns away from God. He betrays God by making his choice in favor of human depravity. The thirst for power and thirst for knowledge enslave his soul and Faust cannot resist human vices. He learns about lies, betrayal, and murder. However, despite all his atrocities, God forgives Faust and gives him the opportunity to get a place in Paradise. Thus, it is love that is able to connect God and man.
In turn, the story of Gregor in The Metamorphosis is the story of a man who, like Jesus Christ devoted his life to the people he loved. In this respect, the main difference between Christ and Gregor is that Christ gave his life for the salvation of all mankind, while Gregor has dedicated his life to his family. He worked a lot and was one of the most diligent and hardworking employees in the company. However, once he discovered that he had turned into an insect. Even this fact did not make him give up the idea to continue going to work and bring money for his family: “he again told himself that it was impossible for him to stay in bed …” (Kafka). Throughout his adult life, Gregor did his best to provide his relatives with all material comforts. He completely ignored his own interests, and the author ironically demonstrates that a man who forgets about him/herself ceases to be a human being and can even become an insect. As in the case with Jesus Christ, Gregor’s sacrifice has not been appreciated by his family. At the same time, like Christ, Gregor did not express any accusations against his relatives. It was his own conscious victim because he could not be another person able to ignore the interests of his family and think only about himself. The tragic ending of this story is a kind of reminder that any person has a right to think about his/her own interests.
Thus, these famous heroes demonstrate radically different attitudes toward God. The hero of Goethe is an ambitious and vicious man who turned away from God for carnal pleasures. In contrast, the hero of Kafka is an honorable man who similar to Jesus Christ is able to sacrifice not only his own interests but also his own life for other people. Faust’s depravity confronts the noble nature of Gregor capable of selfless acts for the sake of his family.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang. Faust. n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2015.
Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2015.