Essay on Camus’ The Stranger (The Outsider): The Character of Meursault

Essay on Camus’ The Stranger (The Outsider): The Character of Meursault

Length: 852 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview



The Character of Meursault in Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider) 

Raymond typifies the beast-character in Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider). He is like Stanley from A Streetcar Named Desire (T. Williams), emotional and manly. Physical solutions come naturally to him, as we see when he mistreats his ex-girlfriend. Ideally, society is exactly the opposite; law and order attempt to solve things fairly and justly. I propose that Meursault is somewhere between these two extremes and that this is the reason why he is a societal outcast. This metaphor explains his major actions in the book: as he struggles to keep his identity, his personality comes in conflict with the norms of society and he is shut down.

Just as an animal sticks to instincts, Meursault has a hard time feeling emotions such as remorse or compassion. Even the first page shows us this. Just as an animal leaves its family when it is old enough, never to return, when Meursault hears of his mother's death he is unattached, even uncaring. He had similar feelings when he sent her to live in the old people's home. Meursault has quite a passion for women; he starts dating Marie the very day after he finds out of the death. But like most animals, marriage is basically nonexistent for him; though he acknowledges it, it holds little meaning. When he is isolated in jail, he dreams of women; not Marie, whom he has been seeing for some time, but women in general. Like an animal he feels the urge to mate without any desire for monogamy. An animal has to focus on the present in order to survive, and as far as we know doesn't spend much time cogitating about its past. Meursault always lives in the present, hence his lack of remorse. This beast-like quality is one that get...


... middle of paper ...


...s Meursault is not able, because of his very nature, to believe in a hereafter. His human side gives in to his animal side at the end when the chaplain tries forcibly to make Meursault see the light. His animal feels the threat of being tamed, or converted to the ways of human society, and so he explodes to save himself.

Only twice in the novel does Meursault experience extreme pressure, once from nature and once from society, and at these points he gives himself over to his beast. This proves devastating from a certain point of view: the first time he compromises his chances of living, and the second time he compromises his chance of an afterlife. This self-preservation instinct is the only thing that keeps him in touch with his bestial side, and in spite of these consequences he triumphs over life in that he remains unique, he does not conform.

 

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Camus’ The Stranger (The Outsider): The Character of Meursault

- The Character of Meursault in Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider) Raymond typifies the beast-character in Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider). He is like Stanley from A Streetcar Named Desire (T. Williams), emotional and manly. Physical solutions come naturally to him, as we see when he mistreats his ex-girlfriend. Ideally, society is exactly the opposite; law and order attempt to solve things fairly and justly. I propose that Meursault is somewhere between these two extremes and that this is the reason why he is a societal outcast....   [tags: Camus Stranger Essays]

Better Essays
852 words (2.4 pages)

Essay about The Character of Meursault in The Stranger (The Outsider)

- The Character of Meursault in The Stranger Albert Camus wrote The Stranger during the Existentialist movement, which explains why the main character in the novel, Meursault, is characterized as detached and emotionless, two of the aspects of existentialism. In Meursault, Camus creates a character he intends his readers to relate to, because he creates characters placed in realistic situations. He wants the reader to form a changing, ambiguous opinion of Meursault. From what Meursault narrates to the reader in the novel, the reader can understand why he attempts to find order and understanding in a confused and mystifying world....   [tags: Camus Stranger Essays]

Free Essays
1236 words (3.5 pages)

Meursault's Indifference in The Stranger, by Albert Camus Essay

- In The Stranger, Albert Camus allows the main character to tell the story in order to give the reader an experience of his own. Obviously, with a novel also comes language, which Camus incorporates cleverly as a way to indirectly illustrate Meursault’s thoughts about certain situations. Although the novel represents a postmodern setting, the author shifts the overall meaning. In The Stranger, Camus applies a unique literary style as a power that deflects blame from Meursault, the antiheroic character....   [tags: The Stranger, Albert Camus]

Better Essays
1166 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on The Unemotional Meursault in The Stranger by Albert Camus

- Unemotional Meursault in Camus’ The Stranger (The Outsider) 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....   [tags: The Stranger, The Outsider]

Free Essays
682 words (1.9 pages)

Essay on Meursault’s Subconscious Mind in Albert Camus’ The Stranger

- In Part One of The Stranger, Albert Camus avoids religious confrontations with Meursault in order to subconsciously place blame on Christ for his criminal actions. Camus restricts Meursault’s relationships to further distance him from his mother. Meursault then alienates himself from the typical spiritual ceremonies and actions to demonstrate his distrust of religion. Simultaneously, Camus uses diction of clear and bright elements to characterize people in the novel, excluding Meursault. Camus associates dark colors with Meursault to depict a sadistic persona....   [tags: Albert Camus, The Stranger]

Better Essays
1122 words (3.2 pages)

The Stranger by Albert Camus Essay

- Albert Camus’s novel The Stranger, Meursault the main character, narrates in the first person and thus, his perceptions are limited. The description of the other characters is entirely subjective, that is, he does not attempt to understand their thoughts and feelings. Meursault is detached from society which makes his descriptions of things going on around him removed. He also refuses to adhere to the accepted moral order of society and thus, society brands him an outsider. The internal world of his thoughts and the external world of he lives in both don’t retain any order....   [tags: The Stranger Essays]

Better Essays
1156 words (3.3 pages)

The Stranger by Albert Camus Essay example

- In The Stranger, Albert Camus portrays Meursault, the book's narrator and main character, detached, and unemotional. He does not think much about events or their consequences, or does he express much feeling in relationships or during emotional times. He displays emotionless throughout the book in his reactions to the people and events in the book. After his mother's death he sheds no tears he seems to show no emotion. He displays limited feelings for his girlfriend, Marie Cardona, and shows no remorse at all for killing an Arab....   [tags: Camus Albert Stranger]

Free Essays
797 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on Camus’ The Stranger (The Outsider): Conformity

- Conformity in Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider) Camus' novel The Stranger presents the character of Meursault who, after killing an Arab, is sentenced to death. This conflict portrays the stark contrast between the morals of society and Meursault's evident lack of them; he is condemned to death, less for the Arab's murder, than for refusing to conform to society's standards. Meursault is an anomaly in society; he cannot relate directly to others because he does not live as they do. Meursault is simplistic, even detached; he speaks of his mother's death without regret for her loss, merely stating: "Maman died today." He goes on to mention that perhaps it was yesterday - he is not sure...   [tags: Camus Stranger Essays]

Better Essays
860 words (2.5 pages)

Camus' The Stranger: Meursault's Apathy Essay

- The Minimalist Life has been defined as the property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation to the environment originating from within the organism. Further, that very definition from the Webster's dictionary says nothing when it comes to the everyday experiences one faces throughout a lifetime. The experiences one faces makes, breaks, and shapes us into how we act and live....   [tags: European Literature]

Free Essays
1383 words (4 pages)

The Hero in The Stranger by Albert Camus Essay

- The Hero in Camus’s The Stranger (The Outsider) Certain novels include a character who, based solely on his actions, would appear to be evil, but in an in-depth examination, can be seen in a different, more sympathetic light. The character Meursault, in Albert Camus’s The Stranger, is notable for this description. While his murderous crime and indifference to emotions make him seem to be cretinous, his dramatic transformation at the end of the story make us feel for him. When he finally grasps the theme of the book, embracing the “gentle indifference” of the universe, he also grabs our hearts, in becoming an “absurd” hero....   [tags: The Stranger The Outsider]

Better Essays
772 words (2.2 pages)