Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Gregor Samsa, a young traveling salesman who awakes one morning to find himself transformed into a hideous vermin. Self-effacing to the point of suicide, he dutifully leaves the family apartment early every day for a job he hates so that he can pay off his father’s debts. Incapacitated by his new physical form and scorned by his mother, father, and sister, he expires of his own volition.
Grete Samsa, Gregor’s younger sister, an aspiring violinist whose studies at a musical conservatory Gregor hopes to be able to finance. After the metamorphosis, she shows some compassion for her deformed brother but eventually comes to share her parents’ belief that all would be best if Gregor disappeared.
Mr. Samsa, Gregor’s father, a stern disciplinarian who violently attacks Gregor when his deformed son dares venture out of his room. Following a business failure, Mr. Samsa sits around the apartment reading the newspaper while Gregor is off at work earning money to pay off his debts. After Gregor’s metamorphosis, he gets a job as a bank guard.
Anna Samsa, Gregor’s mother. Following Gregor’s metamorphosis, she gets a job making underwear. She acquiesces to her husband’s insistence that Gregor must disappear.
The Chief Clerk
The Chief Clerk, Gregor’s immediate boss at the sales firm. When, after five years of exemplary service, Gregor once fails to catch the five o’clock train to work, the Chief Clerk immediately rushes to Gregor’s apartment to demand an explanation.
Three Lodgers, unnamed and indistinguishable men. Each sports an identical full beard. The Samsas provide them room and board when Gregor is no longer able to bring in a salary. They voice their disgust at the sight of Gregor. After his death, they are peremptorily evicted by his newly assertive father.
Charwoman, an old widow who adopts a matter-of-fact attitude toward her responsibility of cleaning up after the verminous Gregor. After discovering and disposing of his dead body, she is dismissed from employment by the Samsas.