Discuss and Explain the plot and sub-plot Essay
Discuss and Explain the plot and sub-plot
Metamorphosis is based around a central character called Gregor Samsa. He is a hard working young man who for a number of reasons, including pressure, he transforms into a beetle. There are other main characters in the play which include Greta Samsa, Mr. Samsa and Mrs Samsa, who are his sister, father and mother. The characters all enter one by one and each give a mime which depicts what their character is like at the current time. The characters then narrate as to what Gregor looks like during his transformation into a beetle, they say this in the third person.
This is followed by a structured conversation between Gregor and his sister Greta. This conversation shows us that there are many close feeling between them, and that they have a close relationship. This relationship later on proves extremely necessary and important, as Greta is the only person who truly understands how Gregor feels when he turns into a beetle. Shortly after this conversation there comes a scene of repetition. This is where we see the demands that Gregor faces and the pressure he receives from his family; for he is the only person in family who sustains a job and therefore produces an income.
An example of the repetition is, ‘Gregor, Cash! Gregor, Shoes! Gregor, Cigars! Gregor, food! ‘ This repetitiveness emphasises the stress and anxiety that Gregor feels. The next scene is a complete antithesis to the previous scene. It is very naturalistic, and portrays a normal, every day conversation between the family. Here we learn about how hard Gregor has to work in order to keep his family in good health with the money he brings in. His mother tells him to go to sleep when he complains about being tired, but he tries to refuse as he is worried that he will get sacked and then the family will have no income.
This shows his dedication to his job and how hard he works for his family’s sake. Gregor in the morning begins to feel ill and this is where his transformation into a beetle begins. The family at this point cannot see Gregor, but they can hear him and realise that something is not right. Gregor refuses their entry into his room, and locks himself in, unsure what is happening to him, himself. By this time the family start to realise that he is late for work. The situation becomes worse though, as the introduction of a new character happens.
The Chief Clerk, who is Gregor’s boss, arrives at the house. The chief clerk only cares about his money and he has come to the house to find out why Gregor is not at work. This makes the current situation more awkward. All of the family and the chief clerk himself try to enter the room, but Gregor who is ashamed and scared about his current physical state does not want them to enter. After much confusion and worry from the family’s behalf, Gregor eventually opens the door. When the family see the sight of him and notice how grotesque he looks they greet him with fear and loathing.
‘Shoo! Get back. ‘ The beginning of the next scene sees the family, including Gregor talking about Gregor in the third person, about how much anguish and pain he feels. The family, with the omission of Gregor then begin to talk in a worried and confused tone, about what to feed him, how to feed him and when to feed him. We then get a flash back to what it used to be like in the mornings, how Gregor would drink his milk and be off to work in a cheery mood. The play continues; and Gregor’s room is cleaned out. “Leave it!
” he shouts, as he tries to protect his belongings – his only companions. The next scene is an evening scene, where again, Gregor reminisces about the distant past. He complains about she milk, saying he ‘doesn’t like it anymore, it’s revolting. ” This again accentuates his transformation: the only human aspect of Gregor is that he appears to be able to speak. Mr. Samsa, previously unemployed because of Gregor’s income, gets a job. The family surround him and bombard him with compliments: “entitles you to look like a general. ” This shows how the family are doing their best to ‘move on.
‘ We, as actors, are told the next scene is “almost entitled ‘Optimism. ‘” This immediately portrays a feeling of hope and desire for their lives to be normal. This, however, is also the scene where Mr Samsa completely loses control and hurls an apple at this son, which sinks into him, shouting, “Back! Back! Back! Back! ‘ The audience is then invited into Gregor’s dream, followed by Phase Three. This phase begins with another flashback of previous life. “Time to get up for work, Gregor. ” The scene quickens until the usual repetitive rush is sounded: “Lodgers, Cash!
Lodgers, Shoes” Lodgers, Beer! ‘ This is where we met three lodgers, who are pompous and exact. They are demanding until they meet Gregor, who is b now a grotesque and unpleasant sight. They argue and leave. This seems to be the final straw, and the family are now conscious that this cannot go on any more. Greta, who so far has been Gregor’s guardian angel, distances herself and leaves him. Mrs Samsa, always there for her son, a maternal figure, sees her son, and after he whispers, ‘Free… free,’ she says, ‘Dead,’ and thanks God in advance for taking care of him.
‘Metamorphosis’ ends optimistically. Greta re-appears, and the family tell the audience how beautiful their daughter is, and how their life seems to be happy. They’re doing everything they can to forget Gregor, and push on with their lives. Metamorphosis is a complicated, unusual play with many hidden meanings. It focuses on family life, pressure and expectation; how throughout our lives, we are always being ridden with demands. Berkoff uses these themes extremely well to create a visual masterpiece of the uppermost class.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 11 July 2017
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