Albert Camus ' The Guest Essay

Albert Camus ' The Guest Essay

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Albert Camus’ The Guest revolves around the notions of moral justification and solitude with the underlying themes of absurdism and nihilism. Camus personifies absurdism through the protagonist, Daru–whether Daru makes the decision to release the prisoner to freedom or delivers the Arab prisoner into prison does not matter, since Daru allows the prisoner to choose, and the prisoner chooses to be imprisoned. There is also a sense of uncertainty of moral justification–how is one justified in one’s choice of action and on what scale is the justification based on, which is essentially the foundation of Daru’s dilemma. With the internal confliction of Daru’s personal beliefs against abiding superior authority, Daru is faced with two moral dilemmas: to abide authoritative demands to deliver the prisoner to a prison in Tinguit or to release the Arab prisoner.

One’s life orbits around their fundamental morals–to do what one’s heart feels to be appropriate–but in times of authoritative pressure, deviances may spare one’s life, but send another to damnation. Daru was assigned the task to deliver the prisoner–he was obligated to. There was no rejection, just obedience. Since it conflicted with Daru’s political and moral stance, his dilemma became quite real. His obedience to the government would deem him a supporting citizen and would prevent tension with the government, but would deem him an enemy to the native tribes that are aligned with the Arab prisoner. The result of the prisoner willingly going to the prison concludes with a similar resolution if Daru sided with the government– “You handed over our brother. You will pay for this”. (246) Though Daru did not directly hand over the prisoner, his initial motive to abide to government or...


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...ide was completely rational. However, the unfortunate resolution of the dilemma being how the prisoner, though equipped with sufficient goods to life freely, chose to be imprisoned led Daru into a position of limbo–having offended both the government authorities and the native tribes. The Absurd is the notion that all humanly decisions and choices have ultimately no meaning, and Daru is the prime personified representation of Camus’ ideology–whether Daru chose to follow his morals or to hand over the prisoner, in the grand scheme of things, would not matter. Daru’s internal dilemma, though on the foreground seems of great magnitude, the resolution, in lieu of being rewarded for contemplating the decision, all he received was alienation and isolation from both parties–symbolized in the beginning of the story with his school and himself completely isolated in a desert.

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