Existentialism In The Stranger By Albert Camus

909 Words 4 Pages
Junhee Kim
English 10 Honors Period 4
Mrs. Mullen
Existentialism is a philosophical theory that empathizes the existence of an individual as a free agent determining their own fate through acts of free will. Most existentialist do not believe in a higher power and determine their own purpose and fate based on their free will. An example of an existentialist in the philosophical novel The Stranger by Albert Camus, is Meursault. He has no hope or purpose in his life. Throughout the story, Meursault refuses to adhere to the moral codes of society and murders an Arab, which leads him to months in prison and a trial. However, the trial sways away from the murder itself and focuses on his atheism beliefs and
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In the novel, during the time in prison, Meursault was taken to the magistrate’s office for an examination. During the examination, the magistrate shows Meursault a crucifix and asks if he believes in God. Meursault, being an non-believer of higher power answered “no” and the Magistrate replied that “all the criminals who had came before him until now wept when they saw the symbol of their Lord’s suffering”(Camus 86-87). The crucifix is an image of Jesus on a cross. It symbolizes obedience to God and is a reminder of hope.For Meursault however, the crucifix shown by the magistrate had no meaning. For instance, the other criminals wept when seen the crucifix, because it was a reminder of their sin and the destruction of their hopes for the future due to the acts of crime. Meursault did not shed a single tear when the crucifix was shown, because being a criminal would not change the way of his life, for he had no future, no hope and no purpose of …show more content…
Throughout the story, Meursault was frequently disturbed by lights, whether it was sunlight or street lights. He was disturbed by it during his mother’s funeral, during the murder and even during the trial. In the bible, it states “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’“(John 8:12). There are two types of lights in a religious sense an individual can perceive. The first is physical light and by perceiving it one can see the God’s handwork creation. The second is the light that Jesus stated he is and it means that when one perceive this light, one will never be in spiritual darkness. Meursault in “The Stranger” only perceived the physical light and he was strongly annoyed by it and wanted to avoid it. This shows his resentment and the disrespect to God and his creations. Meursault refused to see the chaplain three times while in prison and committed a murder when had seen the light reflect on the Arab’s knife. These acts show he does not want to interact with God and avoid God and these actions resulted him to murder an Arab and be sentenced for

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