Is Meursault Heroic in Albert Camus' The Stranger? Essays

Is Meursault Heroic in Albert Camus' The Stranger? Essays

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Is Meursault Heroic in The Outsider?

  When Meursault is described to us in the early stages of "The Outsider" we see

that he does not obey society's codes therefore is it fair for us to assess

him using societies interpretation of "heroic"?


If we are to judge him by them then we are given ample examples throughout

the novel of his having no compassion or even of his thinking of the

consequences of his actions, hardly heroic, but the converse is also

demonstrated in many places.  An example of the former is when Raymond asks

Meursault to "draft" a letter to an Arab prostitute.  Meursault knows what

will result from his actions but seems unemotional and views the letter as

being a favour for a friend and not a vicious conspiracy.  This lack of

emotion is reinforced when the prostitute is beaten up by Raymond and

Meursault remains impartial whilst his girlfriend, Marie, thought it was "

terrible" and is sickened by the beating.  Another display of his apathetic

views is in the opening lines "Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I

don't know"  This indicates that either he does not care or he had no

comprehension of what had happened.  An additional illustration of his

detached attitude is after his mothers funeral when he goes to see a

humorous "Fernandel" film with Marie, his girlfriend, and then he takes her

home and sleeps with her just hours after his Mothers funeral.  This

indicates that aswell as having a detached viewpoint that he has no

perception of morality.  A section of the novel that reinforces this occurs

that after the murder when he is in jail; he never mentions the Arab at

all; it is as if he does not...

... middle of paper ...

... monther's funeral is liable

to be condemned to death", Meursault is condemned as he does not conform

and people cannot understand him.  In my opinion Meursault is admirable as

despite his imminent conviction he maintains his unconventional viewpoint

and standards throughout the novel.  He is a "man who, without any heroic

pretensions, agrees to die for the truth".  In my opinion this is the

essence of Meursaults character, if he believes in it not even death will

alter his views.


Works Cited and Consulted:


Akeroyd, Richard H. The Spiritual Quest of Albert Camus. Alabama: Portals Press, 1976.

Camus, Albert. The Stranger. New York: Random House, Inc., 1988.

King, Adele. Camus. Oliver and Boyd Ltd. 1964. 120.

McCarthy, Patrick. The Stranger. University of Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.


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