This essay answers the question of "Why is an apple chosen to be what is thrown at Gregor Samsa in "The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka? An apple is good but in this instance the apples has brought mixed blessings to different people.
The use of apples in literature is a usual tactic in Greek mythology. A complete analysis of metamorphosis will draw a parallel in the use of the rich mythological underpinnings of apples especially the golden apples used in the background of the Trojan War. The apples represent immortality. They are only available from the garden of Hesperides. These apples are representing the most heart-rending emotions in the history of literature achievements in Greek mythology. It is a symbol for complex representation of human relationships from happiness to death to immortality. Life after death representation is by apples given as presents or gift to wedding characters. The battle of troy and the Trojan wars in Greek mythology used apples as baits. Gregor's apple captures this similarity to the three golden apples given to goddess Atalanta in a race to win her heart by Hippomenes only that gregor's apple refers to many apples with a focus on the major rotten apple that eventually wounds and kill himâ€¦ The acquisition of the golden apple from the garden of Hesperides was not easy and it, has the magical effect, as means of causing love, and is a common motif throughout Greek literature. The use of apples as aphrodisiacs was common according to Evangelica Anagnostou-Laoutides, the author of Eros and ritual in ancient literature (Evangelia Anagnostou-Laoutides, 2005, p.62.)Fruits play important roles in Greek mythology especially the Adams apple that is the most familiar from the story of the bible in Gods creation of Garden of Eden; the apple is common in Greek mythology and in reality as a means to an end. Since time immemorial fruits regard is as, the appropriate wedding presents throughout antiquity .Hippomenes hands to the protégé of Atalanta three apples from the garden of Hesperides to win the race in order to marry her (Evangelica, 63).
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Apples has bee used to explain many difficult human situations through mythology in art and literature .Greeks answered many questions on life by use of the gods. To give human curiosity meaning like the search for beauty and identity and the cultural conflicts represented by apples was good artistic technique. One of the a major characters in Greek mythology Hercules was given the work to procure three yellow apples by robbing the orchard of Hesperides which was famed for have apples to promote immortality (Edward Davies, 193)
The use of apple in the metamorphosis is about the apple as a symbol of radical change. This radical change takes symbol of various apples that the father throws to pelt Gregor. The various ways from the first apples the second apples, which embeds in to the body of Gregor and eventually kills him and the many more apples are pelted Gregor with no purpose than to pelts him successfully and these apples run in all directions. The capture of the radical change that occurs to the main character Gregor is by the symbol of the apple especially the rotten apple on gregor body. His transformation gives deeper understanding by the use of an apple. Where do we get the apple in his transformation? The rotten apple embedded in Gregor body symbolizes that he has the weaknesses in capacity of gregor the traveling salesman. Every one of us has rotten apples in his life, we need to get rid of the rotten apples, and sometimes the getting rid of rotten apples may mean our deaths. If we do not remove the bad apples before they become big wounds then whey will lead to death. Failure to remove Gregor apples before it is too late kills him but he is helpless due to the transformation. This is about change of life situations.
There is striking symbolism to the parallel use of the apples is the story of William tell and his son as written by (James Sheridan Knowles, 590) an .apple placed on head of his son on a distance of hundred paces. William tell who was champion of liberty against the the tyrant Gezzler in Switzerland (charles Dexter Cleveland, 591), only this time the father and son are in different situations the father is victim who must shoot an apples on his sons head to save the life of the his son. In addition, he argues that he would like to see the apple he is to shoot at .if he misses he will murder his own son. The twist to this story is because William Tell did not pay homage to the governor of Austria hence he had to undergo prosecution. William Tell hit the apple into two pieces. The governor Gezzler turned to William Tell and asked why he had a second Arrow. Tell replied that if the first had not hit the apple the second would have hardly missed the heart of the tyrant. This similarity is direct in that the second arrow parallels the second apple that kills Gregor(charles Dexter Cleveland, 591), discus the apple tree where under the tree used by Isaac Newton where one of the fruit fell, on his the head, leading o discovery of forces of gravity(Bolton Corney, 152) .
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The roman mythology uses apples as romance symbols and beauty .once the rotten apple kills Gregor, the other three family members are free from laziness by the apple while Gregor is free from struggles by his death. Fate brings the situation and his father makes him free to die instead of living like vermin it is better to die. The apple here symbolizes the good thing about the changes and the Mr. Samsa and Mrs. Samsa see these changes as well as Greter who feel they are not bad at the end. The apple image comes unexpectedly and the transformation is more unbearable by the rotten apple. The rotten apple makes the others to rot away. One bad apple waste the others and the only way is to remove the bad apple to keep the others well and so Gregor is the bad apple which has become rotten in the flesh, he is a thorn in the flesh of the family life and the thorn needs to be removed. Therefore, so long as the apple is bad it does not help matters if in history it was a good apple. Before it got rotten, it was a good apple, so Gregor was like good apple when he was a traveling sales man. His failure to keep the other members working was like rotten apple spoiling his family with pampering them they become lazybones until the rotten apple disappears away by fate of the metamorphosis. They become hardworking people. The hypocrisy of the lazy father ends and father bites the finger that used to feed him. It is a useless finger now. The apple is very painful and stays in the flesh of Gregor for a month and no one wants to remove it. The fact that there are many apples used means there are also many problems that needs to be sorted and every problem has a rotten apple in it.
The author also draws the image of the transformed Gregor as a brown apples the narrator refers to Gregor body as "his brown, arched abdomen "the round shapes is symbolic of the shape of the apples and symbolizes Gregor himself as an apples and this apple has become rotten hence it will spoils the other apples . It is reference in terms of circumference and we may add here where there a circumference there must be a diameter. Hence, it is truly an apple with a circumference and a diameter .this shape of a circle like a ring and circles have no end and no beginning representing the image of immorality as used in golden apples in from the garden of Hesperides in Greek mythology. The fact that ,many apples thrown to realize bombardment of Gregor ,means many problems of the family were directed at Gregor and now father vents his anger symbolically using as many apples as he could get to release himself by pelting the focus of his perceived problems of going to work again. The image of His numerous legs, pitifully thin in comparison to the rest of his circumference reflect he has a strong body but unable to use due to his weakness in terms making the other family member dependent and lazybones during his time as a traveling salesmanship. This reflects the fact that before his transformations he was helpless in removing the laziness in his father, mother and sister. The photograph image in the wall of the woman who is her entire forearm had disappeared means the symbol of the working hands disappearing implies we do not see what she is doing with the rest of her hand. This signifies Gregor lack of understanding why the family members were lazy. To signify his apple shape the author describes how Gregor rolled. "He always rolled onto his back again"
Though apples is food we are see the irregular bad food, Gregor is given and the Gregor wonder on the 'temporary and constantly changing human relationships, which never come from the heart. To hell with it all!" this term hell remind us that apples at the garden of Eden commonly referred to as Adams apple as we think of hell and heaven. It signifies the apple of betrayal and disobedience father felt betrayed by the helplessness of the metamorphosed Gregor yet ironically hypocritical for father to pretend was ill all the time while Gregor labored for them. Now Gregor is a bad child and deserves to die, the apples represent the apple of sin, and betrayal of destiny .who is to blame for state of affairs except fate. The author describes the danger by referring to furniture as having obstructed being 'full of sharp points and spikes. This introduces the danger of the first apple, which flew close by and rolled in front of him. The fact that this apple did not come behind him is symbolic of future meaning the apples symbolize future of change where all family member will adjust to what the future brings, the future has no lazy people, and those who encourage others to be lazy are no more. At first, he is not sure whether it is an apple; and refers to it as something I quote 'at that moment something or other thrown casually flew close rolled in front of him" . Immediately a second one flew after it. That Gregor is frightened is a way of fear for change and there is no need to fear change hence he could no longer run way from destiny and change.
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The father son relationship applies here. Symbolically the father seizes the opportunity to kill the vermin. The vermin is causing problems for everybody
The image of filling his pockets to the full with apples just to pelt his metamorphosed son implies that he was fed up with the status quo and doe not even take accurate aim he threw apple after apple. We see the collisions of the apples as way of human conflict in the family everyone here now represents a small apple and all apples are electrified and collided with each other. The mother and father do not agree on how to handle Gregor as well as the sister Greter but when the rotten apple kills Gregor all the rest of family member are relieved and the father exclaims by thanking God for the demise of gregor caused by the rotten apple.
The author takes time to describe the different apples one is a weakly thrown apple that grazes Gregor's back and skids without any harm. The apple got into gregor back with incredible pain and he lay senseless. The drama of the screaming sister and the mother running in her undergarments is indicative of impact of change. Rotten apples spoils all the others and this is seen when the rotten apple inflamed surrounding yet the feelings of love associated with apples is what Gregor feels and paradoxically wishes to disappear. This meaning he wishes to die more than the wishes of his sister of good riddance even the charwoman announce the death of Gregor as the death of a big vermin not a person., "Come and look. It has kicked the bucket. It is lying there". An apple day keeps the doctor away. Perhaps we have danger as symbol when the colors of apples are different gregor apples are Red in color. We have other colors of Green apples, yellow apples. Finally, the bib bug or vermin died indicating that we should not work like bugs but instead should give responsibility to every one should work the way all members of the family start working and this shows Gregor was rotten and to blame for their laziness. He was the bug that had made them lazy once he changes it is better for the vermin to die so that others can take control of their own lives, As the father says "We can thank God for that! Since now, they are in charge of their own lives instead of being parasites to Gregor the new experience is good for all family members except Gregor who dies. The metamorphosis opens doors for all members why also undergo a technical metamorphosis in the way they look at life in a new perspective.