Essay on Albert Camus
Albert Camus, philosopher, writer and the Nobel Prize winner for literature, is the author of a number of challenging and thought-provoking essays and novels. As a representative of French existentialism he regarded this trend not as a system of notions and concepts but rather as the expression of a certain mood, the way a man lives and chooses his behavior in the world of seeming permissiveness. The absurdity of existence, the power of death, the feeling of solitude and alienation from disgusting outer world ("everything is alien to me") - these are the ideas that Camus characters are guided by.
From the very beginning the apparent indifference and inertia Mersault embodies strikes as inhuman and even immoral: shrugging off his mother's death, agreeing to marry a woman he does not love, getting involved into intrigues of a local ponce and ending up in killing a man. This unmotivated crime which Mersault commits in the rays of Algerian dazzling sun brought him to trial and eventually to accepting his fate in the society that tries to "catalogue" the life of every person, to make everyone fit its norms and stereotypes. And in this respect Camus interpreted the plot of The Stranger as "distrust of formal morality". Mersault did destroy the boundaries and did neglect the restrictions imposed by the society but not because he wanted to learn the limits of his own potential (like Raskolnikov, for instance, did). Camus's character is almighty and absolutely free in this absurdity without God, reason and sense. Merasult is accused because he is a stranger here refusing to abide by the generally accepted social regulations. He is a stranger belonging to the world of nature. He admires nature, feels part of its magnificent cosmic landscapes, and contemplates its eternal beauties. He is an alien who exists without any "plan" from one moment to another.
A death sentence does not change his morals: it only revealed the genuine essence of human life before him. He realizes that there can be no judge over him, he is condemned but so are all mortals. "I opened myself for the first time to the tender indifference of the world. Finding it so much like myself-so like a brother, really-I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again". These words are a sign of Camus's optimism: a Man should stoically accept the absurdity of the world because however vain all efforts to achieve something may be they still bring felicity ("You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life"). In this connection Mersault as well as Sisyphus (Camu's another protagonist) "must be visualized happy".
This book promises to be a rewarding and enriching experience for everyone in search of absorbing and compelling intellectual reading.
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