Discuss the methods of characterisation used by Hesse and Kafka to portray the personalities of Siddhartha and Gregor.

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Hesse and Kafka make specific use of their main characters. Kafka’s Samsa is a trapped man. We are introduced to him just after his “metamorphosis” into a bug. He remains in this state until his death at the end. Hesse’s eponymous character is portrayed as an enviably successful – attractive, intelligent, revered - character that nevertheless chooses to set out upon a spiritual journey in order to reach enlightenment. Thus, Hesse emphasises the quality of his main character and shows us that a privileged life is not necessarily a happy one. By choosing the name “Siddhartha” for his main character, Hesse is obviously linking him with the historical Buddha. The way the authors characterise their protagonists convey the message of the story which, in both of these novels, is more important than the characters themselves. The bug symbol relates not only to Samsa, but to Kafka’s view of society which he believed to be suffering greatly from the effects of capitalism. Hesse gives us his philosophy of living. Siddhartha, a character smiled upon by nature from the start eventually discovers in the “thousand voices” of the river a symbol of the whole world. Both authors use symbols in particular; Hesse gives his main character a mythical quality with a use of simile and a simple style of direct speech. He describes his stages of learning through an episodic plot and spiritual language. Kafka’s direct and factual style brings out the comical side of Gregor’s situation and his attention to detail makes us empathise with Gregor’s predicament. Each characters reaction to the settings reveals their personalities to us. The setting that is described in the novella Metamorphosis plays an important part in the characterisation of Gregor Samsa. Firstly, nearly the entire plot is set within Gregor’s house. This instantly gives the audience a sense of his entrapment, as the
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