Victims of Society in The Outsider and Antigone Essay

Victims of Society in The Outsider and Antigone Essay

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Victims of Society in The Outsider and Antigone

Both Meursault and Antigone are the protagonists in their stories.
They have much in common, such as the fact that they explain their
impending deaths as decided by fate, even though each seems to have an
easy way of surviving. Both are willing to die for what they believe
is right. The concept of fate is quite different between the texts. In
Antigone, a Chorus tells you at the beginning of the play that
Antigone will die. Antigone uses the excuse of fate to explain her own
death to Creon, where as in The Outsider fate is much more subtle.

First I will look at The Outsider and Meursault. Albert Camus wrote
this novel as a challenge against the death penalty and the society
that imposes it. It reflects his existential philosophy including how
we do not trust people that are different, that society would rather
hear lies then the truth if the truth makes them uncomfortable, and
that people with different views to the majority are persecuted.
Camus' choice of Meursault, an unusual person, who does not 'play the
game', enables him to demonstrate this argument.

Meursault's first words are 'Mother died today.' He is very quiet and
detached and likes to observe events around him like a spectator,
regardless of their importance to him. At his mother's funeral, he
does not cry, he smokes and drinks coffee, and this turns out to be
the reason for his execution. It may appear that the fact that
Meursault is killed because of the way he acts at his mother's funeral
is a sign of hubris, much like Creon's in Antigone, who does not
respect Polynices' death properly.

Camus shows us Meursault's philosophy is a hedonistic one; he acts
like each day is his last. His bo...

... middle of paper ...'s destiny is argued by all the individual characters, each
arguing only for the side that benefits themselves. The Chorus argues
for fate to justify it's existence, Creon argues for it to justify his
decision to have Antigone executed, Heamon argues against it because
he wants Antigone to live on.

These two stories rely on inevitability to draw attention away from
the storyline, and bring the focus onto the issues they raise. Camus
wished to persuade people that the death penalty was unjust and wrong,
while Anouilh wanted to encourage a sense of rebellion among the
people of occupied France during World War 2. In The Outsider and in
Antigone both of the main characters believe that they are destined to
die, becoming martyrs for their author's causes.


Anouilh, Jean - Antigone, 1944

Camus, Albert - The Outsider, 1942

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