The Myth of Sisyphus is the most revealing commentary on Albert Camus’ reasoning. Defining the absurd as arising from the meeting of two elements: the absence of meaning in the natural world, and mankind’s inherent desire to seek out meaning. The author projects his philosophy of devoid from religious belief and middle-class morality through an unremarkable protagonist throughout the novel. Sisyphus, an absurd hero due to embracing his ludicrous task and chooses to find meaning in rolling a huge stone uphill only to have it to roll back to be pushed up the hill. The face of the Absurd feels that the world becomes strange and inhuman. No longer recognizing the beauty in nature but instead, views the world for what it is – strange and incoherent.
The Stranger, published by Albert Camus in 1942, originally was written in French but soon got translated into English. Absurdism is a philosophy closely looked at in the novel and the readers can greatly explore this philosophy through evaluating the actions of the narrator, Meursault. Albert Camus writes in specific focus to this philosophy in The Myth of Sisyphus, which consists of a story about a man named Sisyphus who was sentenced to push a rock uphill again and again only to watch it roll down again. He writes his novel purely subjective to the narrator’s point of view. This is important because we the readers are able to see his reasons for his actions and opinions on situations. In The Stranger, Albert Camus cleverly shapes Meursault’s character so that he portrays the philosophy of the Absurd and also shows how a more rational society might view his choices and actions.
In 1962, writer Mark Esslin took pleasure in composing the novel Theatre of the Absurd and quickly became a major influence on the works of many inspired writers. Esslin subsequently made ensuing plays and stories which focused on nonspecific existentialist concepts and which did not remain consistent with his ideas, rejecting the “narrative continuity and the rigidity of logic.” As a result, the protagonist of these stories is often not capable of containing himself within his or her disorderly society (“Theatre”). Writer Albert Camus made such an interpretation of the “Absurd” by altering the idea into his view of believing it is the rudimentary absence of “reasonableness” and consistency in the human personality. Not only does Camus attempt to display the absurd through studied deformities and established arrangements; he also “undermines the ordinary expectations of continuity and rationality” (“The Theatre”). Camus envisions life in his works, The Stranger and “The Myth of Sisyphus,” as having no time frame or significance, and the toiling endeavor to find such significance where it does not exist is what Camus believes to be the absurd (“Albert”).
Opposed to this, Camus uses Meursault as a construct to demonstrate his philosophy of absurdism. Absurdism is the belief that one cannot give rational sense or purpose to life, a belief based on the inevitability of death. Because people have difficulty accepting this notion, they constantly attempt to create rational structure and meaning in their lives. The term ‘absurdity’ describes humanity’s futile attempt to find rational order where none exists. Only at Meursalt’s epiphanic revelation before death does he realize this as his comes to know the absurd world.
An absurd hero is developed by the six tenets of existentialism: anxiety, death, the void, existence precedes essence, absurdity, and alienation. These six tenets explain the overwhelming question, “Why do we exist?”. To understand why we exist, one must first question why the absurd happens. Camus did such. Camus develops the plot of his existential novel through a plethora of absurd events that boosts the overall theme of the novel. One example of this is how the town of Oran turns it back on the sea at random moments of time. This is very strange, why would a town that is isolated between the sea and a mountain range want to turn away from the one source of its salvation and one of the few ways it could connec...
Such when Camus writes, “All Sisyphus’ silent joy is contained therein. His fate belongs to him.”, but also contends that “Likewise, the absurd man, when he contemplates his torment, silences all the idols.” Within these quotes, I find a distinction between the acceptance of fate and the acquisition of circumstance which in both cases of Sisyphus and the absurd man, contends a claim of conflict between what we want from the universe, whether this is meaning, order, or reasons, and what we find in the universe which tends to be the uncertainty that is distinguished by
The Stranger, like any novel, has many different aspects that contribute to it’s overall effect on the reader: character structure, existential influences and perspective have especially large roles. The Stranger was written in a time when the world looked at the aftermath of World War I and World War II and started to question humanity and its motivations. Many critics place this piece of literature under the general term of existentialism while other critics express a wide variety of opinions over the book. What exactly is existentialism? Does the amount of existential influence within the book warrant it being labeled as an existential piece?
Albert Camus is a widely renowned author and existentialist philosopher from the 1950s. He believed in a concept called “The Absurd” which he described as the notion that our universe is completely irrational, yet people continue to try and give order and meaning to it. For most normal human beings, this is an extremely difficult concept to accept, including the main character from the novel “The Stranger”, Meursault. Meursault does not express and ignores his emotions, even though it is evident in the book that he does experience them. However, once Meursault falls into a blind rage with the chaplain, the universe begins to make more sense to him. In order to come to an acceptance of the indifference of the universe, one must have an emotional breakthrough, which Camus shows through differences in sentence structure and elemental imagery between parts one and two.
Of the many themes and philosophies that Camus struggled with during his life and presented to the world through his writings, one of the more prevalent was that of the absurd. According to Camus, the world, human existence, and a God are all absurd phenomenons, devoid of any redeeming meaning or purpose. Through Mersaults’ epiphany in The Stranger, where he opens himself to the “gentle indifference of the world”, we see how Camus understands the world to be a place of nothingness, which demands and desires nothing from humans. He further explores this philosophy in The Plague, where the world of indifference is understood as a world of fear, which takes a symbolically tangible form in the plague itself. In The Plague the citizens of Oran fear that which they cannot control, understand or fight. They are faced with the most fundamental experiences of life and death, and it is only in the end that a very few find a way to cope with and understand these two ultimatums.
In Albert Camus’ novel, The Stranger, the protagonist Meursault is a character who has definite values and opinions concerning the society in which he lives. His self-inflicted alienation from society and all its habits and customs is clear throughout the book. The novel itself is an exercise in absurdity that challenges the reader to face the nagging questions concerning the meaning of human existence. Meursault is an existentialist character who views his life in an unemotional and noncommittal manner, which enhances his obvious opinion that in the end life is utterly meaningless.