Motif of Violence in The Stranger by Albert Camus

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Motif of Violence in Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider) The Stranger written by Albert Camus is an absurdist novel revolving around the protagonist, Meursault. A major motif in the novel is violence. There are various places where violence takes place and they lead to the major violent act, which relates directly to the theme of the book. The major violent act of killing an Arab committed by Meursault leads to the complete metamorphosis of his character and he realizes the absurdity of life. Meursault, an unemotional, a moral, sensory-orientated character at the beginning of the book, turns into an emotional, happy man who understands the "meaninglessness" and absurdity of life by the end of the book. Meursault realizes that the universe is indifferent to man's life and this realization makes him happy. He realizes that there is no God and that the old codes of religious authoritarianism are not enough to suffice man's spiritual needs. One has to create one's won meaning in an absurd, meaningless world. Every character that revolves around Meursault seems to be in direct contrast to him. Meursault is an amoral person who does not seem to care passionately about anything. He acts in accordance with physical desires. In other words, Meursault is a sensualist person. At this particular time in his life, his path crosses with his neighbor, Raymond, who feels as though his girlfriend is cheating on him. He decides to take revenge with minor aid form Meursault. Meursault helps him only because he thinks he has nothing to lose if he does. As things lead into one another, the first major violent act of the book is committed. As part of his revenge Raymond beats up his girlfriend, only to be followed by her Arab brother. At this time Raymond thinks Meursault to be his good friend and takes him to his friend Masson's beach house, where the two major violent acts that lead to Meursault's ultimate metamorphosis takes place. The second act of violence takes place at the beach between two Arabs on one side and Raymond and Masson on the other. This leads to Raymond's getting hurt. Before this Camus foreshadows violence when Raymond gives Meursault a gun in case things get worse. After taking care of Raymond, Meursault goes back to the beach. He says to himself, "To go or to stay, amount to the same thing.
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