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Is Meursault a Tragic hero or a sociopath?

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Introduction

Is Meursault a sociopath or a tragic hero? In order to asses whether Meursault is a sociopath or a tragic hero, one must first define the traits and characteristics of such types of characters. A tragic hero is usually a noble man who is pursued by his fatal flaw. The tragic hero commits a mistake of which he cannot free himself; entering an unstoppable chain of misfortunate events which is only broken with his death, where order is restored, and the reader should feel pity for the tragic hero and learn something from his death. Whilst a sociopath is a person who lacks the fundamental feelings as remorse, guilt and shame. As well as having shallow emotions; being incapable of loving. Also a sociopath, does not recognize the others feelings and needs, thus acts upon his own free will. Although, it is very hard to classify Meursault in one of these two categories, as the own title of the book, suggests he is an 'outsider' or a 'stranger' different from any kind of person ever seen. Thus one should measure the extent to which Meursault fits each of these two different types of characters. ...read more.

Middle

Although, one might point out that a tragic hero acknowledges his mistake, and during his life tries to go against his own fate. Whilst, Meursault does not acknowledge his mistake, as he believes that death is a common factor in life, and thus questions why should he cry after his mother died. Moreover he does not act as a tragic hero trying to go against fate, as he states that she said, "If you go slowly, you risk getting sunstroke. But if you go too fast, you work up a sweat and then catch a chill inside the church." She was right. There was no way out", here the nurse uses a metaphor of the weather to show how Meursault could not defy what was already destined for him. This relates to the myth of Sisyphus, where no matter what you do, in the end you are going to die, which is similar to the question Meursault is doubting; that no matter what ways he chooses, there will be a consequence. Furthermore Meursault's relationship with Marie exemplifies well how Meursault can be considered a sociopath. ...read more.

Conclusion

Firstly it could be seen that at his death he realizes that what he did was wrong, as he invokes the "crowd [to] greet [him] with cries of hatred". And that after this the audience will feel pathos for Meursault and order is restored, as a common tragic hero. While on the other hand, this ending could be seen as to the indifference he saw everything. Showing that as life is meaningless; he would satisfy the people's desire of killing a person that was different from all the others. This points out his sociopath side, where the only way he cannot be lonely is by having people "greeting him with hatred". Thus, we see that at some times Meursault acts as a tragic hero, whilst at others he appears to be a sociopath. It seems to me, that when we first read the book, it appears that Meursault is a tragic hero that could not fight his destiny; although when we read it more in depth we see that Meursault is not innocent for the things he has done, therefore being more than a sociopath, being a "monster". In conclusion we see that Meursault is neither a tragic hero nor a sociopath, but as Camus defined, he is an "outsider". ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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