• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Is Meursault an absurd hero? Is he a moral monster? Is he a rebel against a conventional morality?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Is Meursault an absurd hero? Is he a moral monster? Is he a rebel against a conventional morality? In order to understand Meursault's rebellion we must first understand the nature of his personality as portrayed by Camus. The novel begins with the laconic assertion "Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can't be sure." His mother's death briefly interrupts the pleasant flow of Meursault's life, a life devoted to appreciating sensation. He loves the feel of a crisp towel in the washroom. He enjoys eating, drinking, and smoking cigarettes. He loves to watch the sea and the sky. Swimming and making love to pretty girls like Marie are his favourite pastimes, so much so that an offer of a job promotion in Paris does not in the least appeal to him. When something bores him or distresses him he simply goes to sleep, as he does on the bus to his mother's funeral and even in jail. He is a detached observer of life. Symbolic of this quality is the Sunday he spends watching the ebb and flow of life in his neighbourhood from his apartment window. ...read more.

Middle

He on the other hand, is only interested in sex and physical pleasure and does not feel any respect for the institutions of love and marriage. Meursault's friends are also not very normal. They include people such as a pimp and a man who horribly abuses his dog. He does not believe in making moral judgments, and refuses to call the police when the pimp is beating one of his prostitutes: "I do not like police." The first part of the book goes on in much the same way, until he is jailed for shooting an Arab. The first half of the book, up until his arrest, is structured as a simple first person narrative. Meursault tells of a sequence of events in chronological order, with no personal reflection or flashbacks in time. The writing is simple and unadorned; very few adjectives that could convey an opinion are used. Although it is written in first person, Meursault tells the story with such detachment that it seems like the book is written in objective third person. This makes the story seem very strange, yet highly readable and compelling. The second half of the book is very different. ...read more.

Conclusion

Just because he is different does not automatically mean he is evil. I have the same feelings that a hero is one whom can do amazing things without letting emotions get in the way. He said that Meursault is absurd because his situations is out of the ordinary and would torture any human to insanity unless you were extremely strong of mind. This is what made these two characters heroes. Absurdity is the condition of having no meaning to one's life. Meursault fell in this category after being sentenced to the guillotine. The absurdity in their situations would especially drive one crazy who thought fearfully or sadly upon their situations. The two characters though were drawn to hate their fates and torments which in turn won them victories over their fates by concentrating less on the punishment but more on just the acceptance of the absurdity. Camus gave Meursault a little different level of absurdity in his fate than Sisyphus. Sisyphus had a true and definite absurdness in the fact that he was punished to ceaselessly roll the rock with no end or purpose. Meursault, however, faced only a destiny that would end in a brief time when he would be executed. It would not be quite as hard to surmount his fate, knowing that he would die soon and not have to face any more consequences. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Albert Camus section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Albert Camus essays

  1. Alternate Trial Verdict: Society's Hostility, Irrationality, and Fathomlessness in Albert Camus's The Stranger

    In a few minutes, I was led back into the courtroom. The jury had already given their verdict. I had a strange feeling that something was different. I looked around the room and saw the faces of the people. Their eyes were not full of hate, as I thought they would be.

  2. Existentialism and Nature.

    17) Meursault felt that his life must go on and the natural surroundings were pulling him away from the more socially important event (his mother's funeral).

  1. The Stranger.

    He was able to laugh and enjoy himself knowing that his own mother had just passed away, something that obviously made little impact on him. His physical pleasures dominated his life and forced him to behave the way he did.

  2. Camus' Absurdity of Death.

    The sun is inevitable and affects you either way. The sun, a portrayal of death is parallel to Camus' idea on the absurdity of human life. The inescapable grasp of death holds onto every human. Existentialists believe there is no hope. In the passage there is no hope for someone out in the sun.

  1. A Comparison Between the Coping Mechanisms and Realisations Made While in Prison by Alba ...

    He accepts the cruelty and "benign indifference of the world" (117). The shock of the realities of prison brings about a discovery of inner strength and the forming of survival strategies in both characters. Alba is forced to find strength within herself that she never thought existed, and the shock

  2. A Man On an Island: An expedition for true happiness

    Meursault's "island" in The Stranger was also in isolation. His prison cell was dark, cold and empty except his presence. He did not have the freedom to choose the choice of visitors. Even if he got to see anyone, he could only see, with not much body contact. An example would be when Marie visited him.

  1. A Comparison of the Narrative Structure of ‘The Outsider’ (Camus) and ‘Metamorphosis’ (Kafka)

    these that he is executed and not because he has killed an Arab? There are many parallels in The Outsider, for example, Meursault's relationships with Raymond and with Salamano. Both these friends value Meursault and turn to him in their times of need: Raymond asks him for assistance in dealing

  2. “The outsider” - By Albert Camus

    to the heart when I knew nothing of the most basic human reaction" A novel's believability depends on the approach taken by the author to present the story to his or her readers. In this case, Albert Camus used the technique of first person to present us with the character of Meursault.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work