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The Trial and The Stranger were both critically acclaimed since their published debut, though the books have their many differences they both deal with imprisoned lives going against society. In both novels K and Meursault had characters that influenced them in a negative and positive way, although none these characters had as much influence as the religious figure (the priests) did in both novels. However the priests in each novel influenced the protagonists differently.
In The Stranger the chaplain is sent to Meursault before he is faced with his death sentence to have him repent for his sins and change his religious beliefs, in other words, covert him to Christianity. However Meursault stands strong and tells him that he has nothing to repent, for he has not sinned. He does not belief in God and he believes that he is already receiving his punishment, there is no afterlife or higher judgment in Meursaults? beliefs. The chaplain is able to change Meursault?s mind, when he mentions ?how even the hardest of criminals stare at something at one pointing their lives and imagine a divine face in it? (Stranger, p.121). Although Meursault does not see a divine face he sees the face of Marie. This marks the turning point of Meursault?s life, for he starts to care for life something he has never done before. He is now aggravated to know that is going to die and cannot accept that which explains his rage with the priest.
Camus? creates characters such as Meursault and the chaplain to contrast each other. Meursault represents an outsider and shows how life is, society does not accept those who do not act as expected even if it means that they would have to bend the truth or hurt others in the process. The idea that Meursault does not care of his death sentence, as he shows little or no emotion of his mother?s death or of Marie proposing matrimony to him was of course is completely against the rules and ethics of society. Consequently he creates the chaplain to show Meursault how society expects him to behave, implementing the chaplain in the novel demonstrates how society acts upon those who do not meet the expected behaviors by society, it tries to change or covert them to the norms of society.
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On the other hand, in The Trial the priest tries to help K see how life and society really is, corrupt and unfair. He tells K the parable of the law in hopes of explaining K?s situation. K tries to prepare K for his tragic ending. In this novel the priest tries to open K?s eyes to life as to the chaplain tries to covert Meursault.
Kafka uses the analogy of the doorman to demonstrate how unjust and corrupt the justice system really is as well as it implies K?s fate. Kafka implemented the character of the priest in the novel to show the reader how K was convicted unfairly and how unjust society is. It is believed that the law is there so everybody can benefit from it, "justice is there for everybody" and that anybody can access it with no difficulty. However in Kafka writings it is implied that everything is accessible to man, except the law. This means there will be no justice because the law cannot be accessed, and without the law there cannot be any justice. The priest also recites the parable to show the inability of man to access the law therefore justice as well.
As a whole, in both novels the priest play an extremely important part in the lives of the protagonist, for they allow the character to see that once you choose to go outside the norms of society you become strangers and imprisoned lives. Also showing both Meursault and K that it doesn?t matter how hard they try to fight it, society always wins.