The Absurdity Of Man Essay

614 words - 2 pages

Absurdity is defined as that which is contrary to reason; clearly untrue, unreasonable or ridiculous. It is often a topic in existentialist writings relating to life. This subject is prevalent in Camus’ “The Stranger” and “The Myth of Sisyphus.” Camus depicts absurdity bringing about happiness or indifference in each of these literary works. In “The Myth of Sisyphus,” it is made clear that Sisyphus is aware that his existence is absurd. He is sentenced to an eternity of rolling a boulder up a steep mountain only to let it roll back down when it reaches its peak. His tragedy lies in the fact that he is conscious of the extent of his own misery. What makes his struggle very absurd is that he knows that there is no death at the end of it. The last sentence in this essay is in itself absurd, after describing the dilemma that Sisyphus eternally faces, Camus exclaims, “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” This paradox is upheld because Sisyphus is left refusing to recognize that there is nothing to hope for, and that he must live solely with what is known. Sisyphus’ redemption is seen in his ongoing struggle against the absurd. In “The Stranger”, Meursault does not realize his absurd situation until the end of the novel. It is illustrated, however, in his indifference toward life and lack of emotion throughout. In the beginning of the novel, Meursault is seen as a detached observer of life who is devoted to appreciating sensation. His physical wants and needs overpower his reason and feeling. He has neither a past nor a future; he lives eternally in the present. His indifference is realized almost immediately, when, after his mother’s funeral he exclaims, “It occurred to me… that Maman was buried now, that I was going back to work, and that, really nothing had changed.” The only guilt he felt was that he didn’t feel anything when his mother died. The fact that Meursault’s indifference led him outside the...

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