In two of his greatest works, The Stranger, and The Myth… – Сustom Literature essay

In two of his greatest works, The Stranger, and The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus exposes his readers to the existentialistic parts of philosophy. The existentialism within his works shapes his characters, by determining how they will act and respond to what is going on around them. However, due to the existentialism, the character stands out in a way unique to the characters in that work. Meursault, the protagonist in The Stranger, is an insensitive individual. He shows no feelings towards anyone throughout the novel.

It is this lack of feeling that strongly reflects the philosophy of existentialism. Meursault does not feel any sensations a normal human would have with members of the opposite sex, nor does anything important seem to interest him. This lack of feeling, Meursault does realize it is a problem, for he states himself, I explained to him, however, that my nature was that my physical needs often got in the way of my feelings.(pg 65) Meursault also sees no reason for change in his life. When his boss asked him whether he would like to move to Paris, Meursault responded that people never change their lives, that in any case one life was as good as another and that I wasn't dissatisfied with mine here at all.

Another good example would be after Mamam's funeral, Meursault says that, It occurred to me that anyway one more Sunday was over, that Maman was buried now, that I was going back to work, and that, really, nothing had changed. Meursault is very content with his current life. He is always happy due to the fact that he has no other feelings, so he doesn't have anything to compare to. When the priest asks Meursault if he would like a different life, his response was that he would like one that would be exactly the same as this current one. Work, a home, and a girl is what Meursault has, and he feels nothing more is needed.

Sisyphus, from The Myth of Sisyphus, is a very practical person. He is very existentialistic because of his fate. The fate for the rest of his life, roll a rock to the top of a mountain, then stop and watch it roll back past him. Sisyphus watches his fate roll by which is a great example of existentialism. At one time, Sisyphus enjoyed his life. When he came out of the underworld, Sisyphus realized how dreary life was there.

On the earth, he was able to enjoy the water, sun, warm stones, and the sea. Sisyphus also likes outsmarting the gods, and reaching the top of the mountain because it gives him a sense of accomplishment. Both works of Camus' show the theme of absurbity, that life is meaningless by death, and an individual can't make sense of his experience. In The Stranger, Meursault is not afraid of death because everyone lives, and everyone will die, no matter how old you may be. Sysiphus's life is pointless as of now, he does the same repeated process of pushing the rock to the top of the mountain, only to have to start again. He does this over and over.

The common theme is that life will be meaningless if we don't put anything into it. If people put effort into their life, then their existence will have a purpose. What did other people's death or a mother's love matter to me; what did his God or the lives people choose or the fate they think they elect matter to me when we are all elected by the same faith, me and billions of privileged people like him who also called themselves my brothers?

Couldn't he see, couldn't he see that? Everybody was privileged. There were only privileged people. (p. 121) This quote from The Stranger directly relates to The Myth of Sisyphus.

Fate controls our lives, as it is currently doing to Sisyphus. There is no way we can control our fate, because it is predetermined. Therefore Sisyphus had no choice but to carry the burden of the rock. Bibliography Word Count: 678





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18 January 2014. Author: Criticism