What is the existential significance of the closing scene of The Metamorphosis?From where Grete stops playing her violin to the end.

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Near the end, the cleaning woman is looking forward to telling Gregor's mother, father, and sister about how they don't have to worry "'about how that rubbish from the next room'"—by which she means Gregor's dead body—"'should be thrown out,'" and she encourages them not to "'worry about it. It's all taken care of.'" Mrs. Samsa and Grete simply return to their letter-writing, as though it were far more important than the news of Gregor's death, and Mr. Samsa prevents the woman from explaining the scene in any detail. They simply do not care. When Gregor could no longer be manipulated, he became useless to them.

When Mrs. Samsa and Grete seem to comfort one another, Mr. Samsa even demands that they "'have a little consideration for [him],'" despite the fact that no one showed any consideration for Gregor when he was alive, even when he was single-handedly supporting the entire family. As seen through these developments, it hardly appears that Gregor's life allowed him to behave as an individual who was able to determine his own future. It seems, now, that his parents, and especially his father, really controlled him and pulled his strings while he was alive. After he became no longer useful, he becomes mere "rubbish" to be tossed away.

It will be Grete, it seems now, whose strings they begin to pull, as they notice that, "in spite of all the troubles which had made her cheeks pale," she's become a "beautiful and voluptuous young woman." Her parents exchange a silent look with each other and tacitly understand that "the time was now at hand to seek out a good honest man for her." We see how Grete will not be allowed to make her own decisions, as, what matters now is that "their new dreams and intentions" for her are confirmed when she stands up and stretches her "young body." Without Gregor to exploit, the Samsas turn to Grete, and we see how little agency the individual really has.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the sections of the ending that strikes me forcibly is the final paragraph of the story. The existential significance of this tale is shown by the way in which the life of Gregor is so quickly forgotten and the ease with which his family, and especially his sister, who had once so loved him, move on and completely forget about him and the past. Note how this is referred to at the end as the family members meet and discuss their future and their options:

As they were conversing, both Mr. and Mrs. Samsa, upon seeing the daughter becoming more and more vivacious, realised almost in unison that lately, despite all the sorrows that had left her cheeks pale, she had blossomed into a lovely and shapely girl.

Note the euphemistic allusion to everything that they had endured as "sorrows" only. No mention is made of Gregor. They are only thinking about the future, and this is a future in which Gregor has no place. Human attachments and bonds of love are shown to be completely transient and almost illusory through the ease in which the Samsa family moves on and forgets Gregor. 

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The Metamorphosis

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