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On the other hand, in the novel Metamorphosis we are introduced to a protagonist faced with a physical transformation. Gregor is no longer a human being fit to fend for himself, but is instead reduced to a giant bug like insect, brought into a new life. Gregor is placed into the mindset of his previous life, and experiences a mental empowerment based on his previous social position. Prior to his transformation, Gregor controlled the financial situation in his family. It was his responsibility to work long hours, "getting the money back and pay of what my parents owed" (Kafka 77). Gregor was a powerful figure, comparable to Torvald in A Doll's House. However, after the transformation to bug, his physical power within his family greatly diminishes and he is locked away confined of his actions. Unlike Nora, Gregor has an understanding of social power based on his previous life. Despite being placed in a confined and degraded situation due to his transformation, he is left with an empowering mindset based upon his previous social situation.
As the play continues, we are introduced to Mrs. Linde, a childhood friend of Nora. Unlike Nora, Mrs. Linde has faced the hardships of the real world observing life from a different perspective. Nora speaks openly with Mrs. Linde, and we are soon introduced to a different image of Nora. We immediately substitute the weak doll like image with a loving wife that has risked a great deal in order to save her husband's life. However, despite doing so, we soon learn of her reluctance and emotional fear. After proclaiming her honorable deed, she responds to Mrs. Linde, "What if Torvald heard? He mustn't at any price - no one must know, Christine no one but you" (Ibsen 34). Nora's immediate reluctance reflects her sense of insecurity, and lack of ability to communicate with her husband. Mrs. Linde is eventually able to take control of the situation, responding to Torvald's discovery of the deed with: "it'll be the best for both of you" (Ibsen 74). Mrs. Linde's experience of the real world allows Nora to open her mind to the extent of which she is able to express her true feelings and emotions to Torvald.
As the novel Metamorphosis progresses, Gregor is confined to his room while continuing to maintain a relationship with his family. Each day his sister cleans his room, and "lays out a variety of food to eat" (Kafka 94). Gregor becomes acquainted with his surroundings, and the furniture provides a link to the past serving as a symbol of hope and change. Gregor's sister, Grete, suggests to her Mother that they should remove all his furniture in order to provide him with more freedom to move. However, in response Gregor's mother suggests that: "wouldn't it look as if by moving the furniture we meant show him we had given up all hope of his getting better, and we were leaving him callously to his own devices?" (Kafka 103). His sister and mother arrive at the agreement to leave the room as it is, emphasizing upon the hope left in Gregor's recovery. Just like Nora and Mrs. Linde, Gregor receives support and hope from his loved ones.
Towards the end of A Doll's House, Nora awaits the arrival of Krogstad's letter expecting to see if her husband truly cared for her and would take the blame upon himself. After reading Krogstad's letter, Torvald is furious at Nora for deceiving him, despite her good intentions. Out of anger, Torvald acts selfishly and harshly towards Nora, and he is left greatly concerned of his own image. Nora is brought to realization, and begins to understand that he is not the noble man he once seemed to be. Nora experiences a change in her mental and physical mindset: "I am taking of my Fancy Dress" (Ibsen 96). Nora is able to gather the physical and emotional strength necessary to remove her dolls dress. By doing so, she able to free herself from her previous doll like attributes, allowing her to be able to think and act from her own state of mind.
On the other hand, Gregor's social position severely deteriorates towards the end of the novel. His family's hope for recovery is gone, and "they were clearing out his room; depriving him of all his dearest possessions" (Kafka 105). The possessions that previously symbolized hope are withdrawn from Gregor. Despite this, he feels little anger but instead guilt: "when the conversations turned to the necessity of earning money, he felt hot all over with shame and grief" (Kafka 109). Unlike Nora, Gregor is unable to bring himself to realization. His past social position weakens him, and the previous honor and power reduces him to displeasure and grief. Unlike Nora, Gregor is caught in his previous mindset, and is unable to be brought to realization. Instead Gregor carelessly draws observations from his surrounding unaware of the implications his surrounding are having upon himself.
As A Doll's House draws to an end, Nora becomes mentally certain of her own actions and thoughts. She becomes aware of her situation, and is eventually able to take control of herself leaving the Helmer household where "the street door is slammed shut" (Ibsen 104) behind her. Nora's realization of her relationship with Torvald being filled with deceit drives her to develop into a more realistic and self-sufficient woman capable of taking action.
On the other hand, Gregor is eventually brought to realization when everything has turned against him, "he was in no mood to worry about his family, he was merely filled with rage at how badly he was being looked after" (Kafka 112). Gregor understands that he is being mistreated, though his malnourished and deprived body is unable to act against the confinements of his own family. Gregor's life draws to an end "when he is lying there dead and done for" (Kafka 122). Throughout the novel, Gregor experiences a devolutionary path, leading to his eventual demise. On the contrary, Nora is able to achieve evolution drawing herself above the confinements of the Helmer household.
Kafka and Ibsen draw upon the Darwinist evolutionary ideologies of "we are the products of our surroundings" shaping the outcomes of both Protagonists (Darwin). Both Nora and Gregor experience important mental and physical shifts throughout their lives. With the aid of Mrs. Linde, Nora learns to speak her own mind and is eventually brought to realization. Ibsen places emphasis upon the notion of evolution by drawing freedom from an unaware, confused and confined protagonist. On the contrary, Gregor is confined by his surroundings, and his family situation is continually worsened. Despite being confronted with a powerful mental stance, Kafka emphasizes upon Gregor's inability to utilize, adapt and take action in his surroundings, resulting in his eventual devolution.