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The Theme of Responsibility in "Mother Courage" and "Metamorphosis"

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WORLD LITERATURE ASSIGNMENT ONE Choices, which influence the manner in which the protagonists shape their lives, in the two works' Mother Courage and Her Children: A Chronicle of the Thirty Years War In this essay I am going to explore how responsibility is a driving force which determines choices which influence the manner in which the protagonists shape their lives, in the two works' Mother Courage and Her Children: A Chronicle of the Thirty Years War'1 by Bertolt Brecht and' The Metamorphosis'2 by Franz Kafka. I will explore The responsibility taken up by both the protagonists does not have a positive impact on either, in fact it is one of the reasons for their suffering. Responsibility in both cases can be interpreted as a strong sense of duty, which urges them to make the kind of choices that they do. It is therefore the sense of responsibility that they feel, which has an impact on their emotions, actions and their well-being. Both the works Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht and The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka deals with the protagonists who have a strong feeling of duty and responsibility toward the well being of her family with a strong feeling of duty and responsibility towards the well being of their families w. Mother courage and Gregor are forced to make harsh choices in their life in order to fulfill the responsibilities that they have towards the members of their family. ...read more.


Mother Courage reveals her sense of responsibility in this play even though in this play Mother Courage?s hard heartedness appears to be unnatural and painful. She seems to have become a distorted ?hyena of the battle field?7 not for glory or renown but to survive the rigors of war, to safe guard her children. She, having lost her son to the war, which she had leaned on initially to feed her sons, is now like a scavenger alert towards any threat to her family. However, Mother Courage in scene seven shows a totally opposing view toward the war. She sings praises of the war as a ?good business proposition?8 and is once more ready ?to start up again in business.9? In fact it is this never say die attitude, her resilience which makes her a survivor, who can take charge of her family. In the last scene Mother Courage?s exit pulling her wagon alone is a total contrast to her cheerful entry with her children in scene one. It truly symbolizes the working classes level of endurance despite hardship and catastrophe. In the novel Metamorphosis, Gregor nurtures a strong sense of responsibility, which makes him undergo a transformation. He changes from a young man struggling to fulfill his responsibilities towards his family, by continuing with an unexciting job and the onerous routine of everyday existence; ?If I didn?t hold back for my parents? sake, I would have quit long ago?10. ...read more.


Gregors behavior to the office manager is initiated by a strong feeling of revenge against his hated boss. He wanted to topple him from his position of authority. I believe that Gregor realized that he was not able to fulfill all his responsibilities towards his family on account of the severe imposition of the rigid job thrust upon him by his boss. That perhaps is one of the reasons why he transformed physically into a vermin, who lives in a cocoon and is, not expected to fulfill any social and family obligations. A strong sense of responsibility is the motivating factor in both, the play Mother Courage and Her Children and Metamorphosis. It is the sense of responsibility, which urges mother courage to set out of her home and face the travails of the thirty years war. With her three children and wagon. Inspire of the hardships that she is prepared to encounter, she continues with her journey so as to fulfill her responsibility towards her family. Similarly in the Metamorphosis Gregor Same continue with a cheerless job and a rigid regime to provide fro his parents and sister. However in both cases, in spite of being aware of their responsibility both the protagonists fail in their task. Mother Courage looses her family and so does Gregor Samsa. It is saddening to see that in their efforts to fulfill their responsibility they lose on what they had, before they set out on this onerous path. ...read more.

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