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Albert Camus created Meursault as the protagonist of The Outsider in order to illustrate the condemnation of a character who refuses to lie even to save himself.

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Introduction

D 0998 039 Jackie Porter Albert Camus created Meursault as the protagonist of The Outsider in order to illustrate the condemnation of a character who refuses to lie even to save himself. Likewise, Jean Anouilh creates Antigone as a classic hero who also refuses to lie, but Meursault of The Outsider and the main character Antigone of Antigone are extremely different characters living in very different societies. However, each made the courageous choice to follow their unique and apparent non-conformist set of beliefs, thereby presenting an unwanted challenge to their repressive societies, and ultimately resulting in their heroic deaths. In order to effectively reveal that nonconformity is unacceptable in society, Camus creates an ordeal that Meursault must overcome. Thus, Camus demonstrates the reality of society's outrageous condemnation of those who refuse to conform. Unlike Antigone whose set of morals and beliefs are apparent through her actions at the beginning of the play, Meursault appears to be a degenerate person at the beginning of The Outsider. He does not grieve at his mother's funeral, smokes a cigarette and drinks coffee beside her coffin, and sleeps with a new girlfriend the day of her funeral, he does not express any condemnation towards the way that Salamano treats his dog, or the way that Raymond treats his mistress. ...read more.

Middle

He believes that even these liars 'would be condemned one day.'6 Finally, we understand that the foundation of Meursault's beliefs rests with the very fact that since everyone has 'got to die, it obviously doesn't matter where or when'7 and they might as well follow their beliefs and be happy. Even in prison awaiting his execution, Meursault is able to develop a form of optimism without hope, and die realizing 'I'd been happy, and that I was still happy.'8 D 0998 039 Unlike Camus initial presentation of Meursault, the readers learn about Antigone's belief of loving her family above all else immediately from the argument between Antigone and Ismene. Anouilh presents Antigone as the classic hero who values her duty to her family more than the law, and more than her own life. Even though Antigone knows she is giving up an easy life with Haemon she knows that she must remain true to herself and her beliefs, and she must not allow herself to be swayed by luxuries. It is also quite clear that she knows she is fated to die and the readers are reminded of it constantly throughout the text. ...read more.

Conclusion

Smile at? Sell herself to?'14 Antigone would rather die that be one of the 'craven candidates for happiness.'15 Meursault feels the same way about the truth as he too would rather die than lie. Since she is true to herself rather than the law of Creon, she too is condemned to die. In conclusion, by observing nonconformists like Antigone and Meursault struggle 'to preserve their integrity in a world which is mean, ugly and corrupt'16 we are consistently reminded that, despite the ceaseless demands of society, and in order to be happy, one must remain true to his of her self and his or her beliefs. We become tremendously aware that a society which demands deception, deceit, and uniformity in order to survive is far from perfect, and we must never forget the pure integrity of truth, individualism, love and wisdom. 1 Outsider, 99 2 Outsider, 98 3 Outsider, 115. 4 Outsider, 115 5 Outsider, 112 6 Outsider, 116 7 Outsider, 109 8 Outsider, 117 9 Antigone, 87. 10 Antigone, 42 11 Outsider, 118 12 Antigone, 32. 13 Antigone, 46. 14 Antigone, 47. 15 Anigone, 47. 16 Anouilh Jean, Antigone (United Kingdom: Methuen Publishing Ltd, 2000), pg. xxv. 1 ...read more.

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