Yes, Marianne. I think that Gregor’s plight is an excellent example of metaphor, and as you mention, of shadow. After all, it is a bug that he transforms into. And for most, I think it is our tendency to push the insect-qualities down into the shadow. I mean, who wants to consciously associate oneself with a cockroach when there are other supposedly nobler options like eagles and dolphins, etc? But the shadow work is so healthy. I’m a big fan of keeping an eye on it as best I can, so that I don’t inflate into the too high up regions and then have to suffer (another) fall–not to mention, the value of integrating “my” totality, which is greater than simply all the conscious, and supposedly “better” stuff all stacked-up one-sidedly on the scales.
But more to the point, you illustrate how the hero’s journey can transpire entirely internally. In which case the metaphor gives the internal condition a body visible. Now we have the image, the matter to work with. And I think this is relevant to myth in these times. While we’re engaged in the mundane of taking the subway to work, brushing our teeth, fielding emails and texts, the hero’s or heroine’s adventure in the day to day is greatly internalized. So all the more need for metaphorical directions, they can deepen the ordinary. And I find a freedom in that, however big or small it may be.