A traveling salesman and the protagonist of the story. Gregor hates his job but keeps it because of the obligations he feels to pay off his father’s debt and care for his family. He has transformed into a large bug and spends the rest of his life in that state. Although hideous and unrecognizable to others, Gregor retains his some of his inner life and struggles to reconcile his lingering humanity with his physical condition.
Gregor’s sister. Grete is a young woman on the cusp of adulthood. She initially shows great concern for Gregor, but her compassion gives way to possessiveness and resentment as the effects of Gregor’s transformation on her life slowly take their toll.
Gregor’s father. The failure of his business has left him exhausted and emotionally broken, and he is forced to return to work again after Gregor’s metamorphosis. Despite the beneficial effects his new employment has on him, he expresses considerable hostility toward Gregor.
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Gregor’s mother. Frail and distressed, the mother is torn between her love for Gregor and her horror at Gregor’s new state. Grete and Gregor’s father seek to protect her from the full reality of her son’s transformation.
An elderly widow and the Samsa family’s cleaning lady. Taken on by the Samsas after their regular maid quits because of Gregor, she is a blunt, honest woman who faces the reality of Gregor’s state without fear or disgust.
Gregor’s boss. Distrustful and overbearing, the office manager insinuates that Gregor has been doing a poor job at work. He flees in terror upon seeing Gregor.
Three temporary boarders in the Samsas’ house. The boarders greatly value order and cleanliness, and thus become horrified when they discover Gregor.
The Samsas’ original maid. She is terrified by Gregor and begs the family to fire her.