Absurdism And Morality In Albert Camus's 'The Guest'

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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:
The authoritative figure in The Guest is Balducci, where he instructs Daru to deliver the Arab prisoner to prison– something against Daru’s moral beliefs. His rejection of duties is evidently displayed when Daru thinks the prisoner is escaping, and rather emitting a desire to catch the prisoner back, he exhibits a sign of relief, “He is running away...Good riddance” (Camus, 243). Nevertheless, he understands the consequences of evading authority, which could perhaps even result in Daru’s demise. It is this struggle that has left him in a state of bafflement–to risk himself for the sake of others, or to do what authority believes is right. Regardless of Daru’s initial action of rejection to Balducci, where he “insults” (240) him and unwilling accepts his order to deliver the prisoner, the transition to conform to authority never ultimately happens–the realm of absurdism deems any choice mere nothingness, which reflects Camus’ view on choices and the importance of choice, or lack thereof. Nevertheless, Badu strives to do what he deems his right, knowing the consequences involved. Additionally, from the initial encounter with Balducci and the task, never was Daru enthusiastic about his obligatory task–rather, he tried to give freedom to the Arab prisoner to decide his own fate and even displayed hospitality to the prisoner as though he was a guest, “Eat...come...lie down there” (Camus,

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