Criticism In 'L Etranger' By Albert Camus

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‘L’Étranger’ is a novel written by Albert Camus in 1942. The title of this work has an ambiguous meaning which leaves space to open interpretation; it has been translated to English as ‘The Outsider’ or ‘The Stranger’, as the French term ‘étranger’ comprises both these shades of meaning. Meursault, the multifaceted character that Camus chose as the protagonist, can be in fact regarded as an outsider, for he is completely alien to the society he lives in and to a series of social norms which at times he doesn’t seem to comprehend, or which perhaps he refuses to accept.
This essay aims at analyzing Meursault’s character through the absurdist context in which it develops, and from which it was inspired; it is then argued whether the character’s
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In the very beginning of the novel, he comes to know about the death of his mother through a telegram. He attends his mother’s funeral but refuses to see her and does not cry or show grief. He considers the event merely as something that was bound to happen, sooner or later. He then spends the very next day with the company of a woman, Marie, swimming and watching a comedy. Throughout the first part of the novel, neighbours and friends of the character are also introduced, among which Raymond, a neighbour of Meursault’s who is rumored to be a pimp. He abuses his mistress, and on one occasion he asks Meursault to help him write a letter to bring her back so that he can torment her even more. As a result for his violences, he got in a fight with his mistress’ brother. One day Raymond and Meursault are invited to a beach house. That day they run into a group of Arabs, one of them being Raymond’s mistress’ brother. A fight breaks out and Raymond is stabbed. Later on, with Raymond’s gun in his pocket, Meursault finds the same Arab alone on the beach. Blinded by the sun for a moment, he grabs the gun for no apparent reason and shoots. Then shoots four more times on the …show more content…
What Camus’ character does in this sense, is that he does not look for a purpose at all. He accepts the absurdity of life as it is and gives no higher meaning to it; in the end of the novel, he openly embraces this idea, which he calls ‘the benign indifference’ that the world has towards human striving, and claims himself to be happy and to always have been. His way of embracing the irrational and deliberately following the visceral life force which goes beyond ethics and reason has got some points in common with that of Nietzsche’s Übermensch.
Jean-Paul Sartre, in his ‘Explication of The Stranger’, defined the epiphany of realising the absurd as a ‘state of hopeless lucidity’. In a world in which, metaphorically speaking, God is dead and man is mortal, all moral values collapse; every experience that a man can have, is just as valuable as another, as in the end, death is the only possible outcome. This is why Meursault manages at last to accept the inevitability of his condemn, as he finds that every human being is condemned in his own way. Also, as no moral rules as such are given, physical sensations and thoughts are put on the same level and this is why a blinding sun can become a justification for a murder, or why the warmth of the court room is just as important as the trial, and somehow seems to have an influence on

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