In his works, The Stranger (The Outsider) and Myth of Sisyphus, Camus addresses the consciousness of Meursault and Sisyphus through their fate.
Sisyphus knows his fate. He to Because he has the opportunity and does rationalize his fate, he has consciousness. As the rock rolls back down, he is able to look back upon his life and analyze it. Nothing could be more existentialist. Sartre’s Garcin wants to meet his fate face to face. So, Sisyphus, embodies this desire of Garcin, and is thus a hero to him. Similarly, Charles Dickens’ scrooge has the unique opportunity to become an observer to his fate in the past, present and future. While Camus’ Meursault does not care about his past, he expresses the same feelings as scrooge and Garcin in their desire to confront their fate. Indeed, this is why they are every man and Sisyphus is our hero – he has and will always confront his fate. He has the conscious power to contemplate and control his fate. Therefore, if we know that everyone faces death as their fate, consciousness equals the ability to deal with ones fate.
If we know our fate, do our lives hold meaning? Meursault remarks, “Nothing, nothing mattered, and I know why.” He knows he will be executed by a society in which he cannot exist, but he resigns and thereby assures himself that the middle is meaningless. Before his arrest, he knew he would die. Perhaps this knowledge justifies his living moment to moment. His statement compares to Beckett’s Vladimir when he laments, “Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it is awful!” Both Meursault and Vladimir understand their insurmountable fate, but Meursault desires to confront it. This reveals Meursault to have the heroic qualities of Sisyphus. So, what Vladimir recognizes, Meursault confronts, and Sisyphus transcends. Sisyphus conquers his fate in spite of his immortality.
Camus addresses the consciousness of Meursault and Sisyphus through their fate. By the ability to recognize his past, Sisyphus shows how Meursault lacks unhappiness. Meursault has nothing with which to compare the pleasure he feels instantly, so he is at the least continually content and possibly perpetually happy. Conversely, Sisyphus understands his past yet chooses not to compare his past to the present or his known future. When the priest asks Meursault if he would prefer a different life to his own, he remarks he wants a life “where I could remember this one.
Free Essays on The Stranger (The Outsider): Disillusionment
Disillusionment in Camus’ The Stranger (The Outsider)
In Albert Camus’ The Stranger (The Outsider), the protagonist Meursault is clearly disillusioned of life in general. Two examples of this disillusionment occurred in the instances of his mother’s death and an offer to be transferred to another work environment. This incomplacency is paramount in discerning this meticulous, selfish Camusian character.
In regard to his mother’s death, he seemed indifferent at the loss of her life. He was so uninterested in her funeral that he remarked the following: “…I can be there for the vigil and come back tomorrow night” (Camus 3). His mother appeared to slow him down. He claimed he never went to visit her in the nursing home because she enjoyed it too much. Nonetheless, he admitted, in addition, that the visit “took up my Sunday — not to mention the trouble of getting to the bus, buying tickets, and spending two hours traveling” (Camus 5). To further define his insensitivity, Meursault shed not even one tear in this part of the novel; moreover, he expressed no form of sorrow whatsoever.
Likewise, Meursault’s attitude and reaction toward an offer to be relocated to a Parisian location was a monumental indicator of his insensitivity. One would expect him to accept or decline the offer graciously and respectfully. Meursault proved, again, to be unpredictable when he states, in regard to his then current life and a possible reincarnation in Paris: “…it (life) was all the same to me” (Camus 41). Caught off-guard by his response, Meursault’s boss asked yet another question: was Meursault interested in a change of life? Unmoved, Meursault further retorted that one life was as good as another, and, furthermore, he wasn’t dissatisfied with his current status at all. (Notice how he never stated that he was happy with it either.) Meursault’s boss blasted him, crying that Meursault never gave him a straight answer and had no ambition; his boss sad both of which were “disastrous” qualities in business (Camus 41).