Is there truly any justice in the novel The Stranger, written by
Albert Camus? This is a question that naturally protrudes throughout
the novel, as it is not abundantly clear what Meursault, the
protagonist, was, in fact, put on trial for. At the beginning of the
second part of the narrative, it is understood that he is put on trial
for the murder of an Arab; however, it later comes to our attention
that the murder was not the primary reason of his trial, and perhaps
not even an essential one for that matter. The fact remains that
Meursault was undoubtedly put on trial, not for the murder committed,
but for being the way he was: unemotional through the eyes of society,
which was represented by the jury.
To the reader it seems only natural that one should be put on trial,
not for their personality, but for the harmful acts that one may
commit to another person. Therefore, the idea is strongly implanted in
the novel, as well as the mind of the reader, that Meursault was put
on trial for murder. Nevertheless, throughout the course of the novel,
it becomes apparent that he was, as a matter of fact, not put on trial
for the murder of the Arab, but instead, for acting in such a stoic
manner. Being the honest, straightforward man he was, he answered all
questions in that same conduct. Once Meursault had been appointed a
lawyer, his lawyer inquired over the events of Maman's funeral.
Meursault responded rather coldly when his lawyer had asked him if he
had felt any sadness that day, saying that he "probably did love
Maman, but that didn't mean anything. At one time or another all
normal people have wished their loved ones dead." (...
... middle of paper ...
...!"(p. 96) This
is a rather profound statement that affects not only the characters in
the novel, but the reader as well, rather intensely.
Thus, it becomes palpable that society, in other words, the jury
attempted to fabricate and impose rational explanations for
Meursault's irrational actions. The fact that he was so
straightforward and onest was disruptive and threatening to their
society as they were not accustomed to it, and therefore, they saw no
meaning, which would consequently create chaos in their orderly lives.
Meursault appears to do as he pleases, when he pleases, and therefore,
follows no pattern throughout his life, hence, society becomes
threatened by him, which ultimately leads to his execution.
1. Camus, Albert: The Stranger. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, 1988.
The Faade of the Trial: Meusault's "TRUE" Accusation
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