Exploring Free Will and Decision Making in Albert Camus' Short Story "The Guest, "

988 Words Apr 3rd, 2011 4 Pages
In Albert Camus' short story "The Guest," Camus raises numerous philosophical questions. These are: does man have free will?, are an individual's decisions affected by what society demands, expects, neither, or both?, and finally, how does moral and social obligation affect decision making?

Balducci brings the Arab to Daru's door, informing Daru that "I have an order to deliver the prisoner and I'm doing so," (90) thus freeing Balducci of the responsibility over wherever the Arab ultimately ended up. Balducci didn't want the responsibility of the Arab possibly escaping, and by doing only as was expressly required of him (delivering the Arab to Daru's door and giving the orders of the Arab's destination to Daru), he was also setting the
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So while Daru's actions were performed for a man (putting away the gun, removing ropes, sharing a meal, giving a bed), his perceptions remained those reserved for animals and objects (including his not asking the prisoner's name or about his past).

By leaving the Arab a non-man, Camus presents a particular predicament-the Arab is not given a personality because that would mean when Daru gave the Arab the choice, Daru's actions were performed in a vacuum, the Arab's particular personality had no bearing on whether Daru chose to make options available. This is also witnessed when Balducci leaves the Arab at Daru's without ensuring Daru kept up his end of the social bargain. No man lives in a vacuum, but Camus perhaps chooses to write the story this way because he is a philosopher, vacuum-packed characters can give definite conclusions about the possible nature of man as a species, which is one of the philosophers ultimate aims.

Over the night, Daru does not actively prevent the prisoner from leaving (the gun is in the drawer and the doors are unlocked. When the Arab awakens to relieve himself,. Daru thinks "He is running away... Good riddance!" (93), but the Arab doesn't take the opportunity: perhaps out of fear of a trap, perhaps for lack of understanding the opportunity presented to him, perhaps because he had decided that he deserved to be punished and

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