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Literature Study GuidesThe MetamorphosisPart 3 A Violin Performance Summary

The Metamorphosis | Study Guide

Franz Kafka

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The Metamorphosis | Part 3 (A Violin Performance) | Summary



Gregor feels sad and lonely, yet perks up one evening at the sound of Grete's violin. The three boarders listen with interest at first, while Gregor crawls from his room to take in the performance from closer range. Although the boarders soon start to talk among themselves, Gregor remains captivated—and he imagines his sister playing for him personally in his bedroom, where he would whisper in her ear his plans to pay for her to attend a conservatory and then kiss her on the neck.

Lost in reverie, Gregor remains visible too long, and one of the boarders spots him. Shocked by Gregor's appearance, they demand an explanation from Gregor's father. In a panic, Mr. Samsa shields his son from their view and attempts to drive the boarders back into their room. He refuses to explain the presence of the strange insect-like creature, and the boarders, fed up with the strange behavior, give notice of their departure due to "the repugnant conditions that prevail in this flat and with this family." They say they will not pay for a single day stayed in the Samsa home.

At this, Mr. Samsa sinks into a state of despair. Grete pleads with her parents to put an end to this untenable situation: "I don't want to call this monster my brother," she says. "All I can say is: we have to try and get rid of it." Mrs. Samsa coughs uncontrollably, while his father responds by saying, "If he could understand us."

Overhearing the conversation, Gregor makes his way back to his room. Grete closes and locks the door immediately, and Gregor falls into a "state of empty and peaceful rumination." Soon after a clock tower strikes three, he draws his last breath and dies.


The only thing pulling Gregor out of his stupor is the sound of his sister playing the violin for the first time in a long time. When Grete starts playing, her father's primary concern is the boarders—does the noise bother them? As when the office manager visited their home, Gregor's father is quick to appease outsiders, often at the expense of his own family. Gregor reflects that he is the only one who truly appreciates Grete's talent. This, in turn, leads him to question whether he, a mere bug, should be able to appreciate such fine music: "Was he an animal if music could captivate him so?" Kafka may be commenting on the ability of art to make one human even as modern life can erode one's humanity.

In Parts 2 and 3, Grete transitions from tending to her brother with a certain amount of care and pity to viewing him as a nuisance and burden to the family. Her rejection of Gregor becomes total after the disastrous violin performance. She starts referring to her brother as an "it," telling her parents, "It'll be the death of both of you, I can see it coming." To Grete, Gregor is not human but the cause of their misery.

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