Camus, faithful to his conviction that the true artist says the least, deliberately understated the position of Meursault in Part One in order to give it maximum effect some would say overstate it in Part Two. Despite impressions, generated in large measure by a narrative style which reflects the discontinuous and fragmented nature of his experience see below , Meursault is no automaton nor unreflecting mediocrity.
- La guerre d’Irak – Conçue en Israël ?!
- Anthologie des poètes français contemporains/Tome troisième - Wikisource.
- Folkways A Study of the Sociological Importance of Usages, Manners, Customs, Mores, and Morals.
His rejection of love and of the importance of marriage, when questioned by Marie, pp. He has a job, works tolerably hard at it, and seems to get on well with the people he meets. However, despite these elements of unease, Meursault is no social rebel; if he does consciously hold a set of views governing his behaviour throughout as argued above , he does not hold these views in a spirit of social defiance. In Part One, Meursault is a private individual, rooted in the concrete and everyday experiences of existence.
The murder brings him into the public domain and puts his attitude on trial; condemned and asked to repent, Meursault revolts. The difference between the Meursault of Parts One and Two is not one of substance and certainly not one expressible in terms of awareness. He may be said to move from a privately held, to a publicly, and finally, defiantly proclaimed attitude. If Meursault himself does not feel an outsider in the social order, the reader certainly does have this impression to a degree from the beginning, without being able to identify Introduction 17 precisely its causes.
For example, it is difficult to make full sense of his behaviour during the vigil and at the funeral. Meursault is conventional enough to wear a mourning-band but is no conventional participant in the events: he appears remote, physically inconvenienced both by fatigue and his extraordinary sensitivity to light, and overjoyed when he returns to Algiers.
Although he tells us that he sees things with extraordinary clarity during the vigil, he also has a sense of complete unreality, and the episode is expressed in hallucinatory and nightmarish terms. This truce suggests the possibility of a reconcilitation or accord between man and his existence, based on lucid awareness and acceptance of death. Death is to be faced without myths and without the social conventions of grief, for death is natural to life.
Validité dans le temps de la déclaration d'acceptation de la juridiction obligatoire
Champigny has shown that recourse to the text by itself, especially to the closing pages, suffices to make it clear that at Marengo, Meursault, the pagan, is an outsider in the Christian theatre of death. His life is not oriented to any goal but is a structuring of time before death.
On the contrary, Meursault loves life and refers to his contentment on several occasions. It is true that he does not pursue contentment and is certainly not an escapist through hedonism: he enjoys life in silence and a kind of tranquillity, strikingly captured in the early beach scenes with their emphasis on innocence and laughter and animal coincidence with the elements.
Anthologie des poètes français contemporains/Tome troisième - Wikisource
Indifference, engendered by awareness of death, paradoxically frees Meursault to enjoy the world and the natural order without guilt. He has no interest in material possessions or career, or a more comfortable lifestyle or the myths of absolute love and marriage. In one way, this detachment leads to a kind of tolerance: his belief that all lives are of equal worth. In another sense, however, the detachment leads to the rejection of the idea that there are any absolute values of good or evil, to the refusal of sin and of expressions of regret.
Anthologie des poètes français contemporains/Tome troisième
In order to appreciate Introduction 19 how Camus is able to articulate through Meursault, the quiet office clerk, a complex range of views about society and morality, some comments on the murder and the trial are necessary. When he agrees to write the letter, Meursault appears to show little interest in whether Raymond is telling him the truth or not. He then asks if he agrees that the mistress should be punished and what Meursault would do in his place. This in itself does not convey approval or disapproval: Meursault is detached from the ethical and practical implications of the plan and writes the letter with no thought for its possible consequences in the future.
The execution of the plan, which puts Marie off her food p. The scenes are described with tremendous skill by Camus: we experience events as Meursault does,97 but the all-important question of what actually happens remains difficult to answer, although an Arab is killed.
When L'etranger 20 he gets there, the pulsating sensations in his head begin to cause him pain, as the sun pours down upon him. However, the physiological explanation, as Fitch himself accepts, then encounters the difficulty of the pause and the four further shots. It is true that he realizes after the first shot that he has destroyed his happiness and the balance of the day.
He has also been involved earlier in two disturbing encounters with the Arab, one involving a knife wound, the other a possible shooting. Together, such events could induce a state of inner panic and collapse, leading to the other shots but they could not then be ascribed to physiology. One shot, in any case, might be an accident, but a further four certainly cannot be. Conversely, the psychological explanation Meursault, disturbed by the previous encounters with the Arabs, and feeling under threat, fires in self-defence and fires again when he realizes he has lost his happiness would appear too clear cut.
It certainly is not emphasized explicitly in the text and is not advanced as an explanation at the trial, a point to be discussed later. The reader remains perplexed. The complexity of human nature is such that one can never really know the causes of Introduction 21 a murder, nor can one know if one is a potential murderer oneself. Meursault can kill the Arab, whilst in a sense remaining innocent and thus maintaining the sympathy of the reader because Meursault is also a victim.
The philosophical problem of whether a man with a belief in the equivalence of all things is likely to murder can be posed, without its being resolved by a clear answer. Meursault can be simultaneously victim and agent, innocent and guilty, and his act would express the irreducible paradoxes involved in any human action a point possibly made by Meursault himself in relation to Salamano and his dog.
The marginalization of the Arab victim, whilst consistent with colonial reality, is an extension of the same strategy to present Meursault in a favourable light. However, these critics, even if they are right, must accept that the murder scene is convincing, as we read it. Aesthetic enjoyment and fascination dominate as we read this extraordinary description. Again, fundamental charges of lack of verisimilitude have been levelled against the text Meursault, if he really does love life, would have defended himself better; his lawyer, with only minimal competence, would have pleaded self-defence; the condemnation is itself unconvincing, for no French citizen would have been condemned to death for killing an Arab who had first injured another Frenchman and who had drawn a knife.
Camus has contrived the trial and the verdict to bring Meursault to the guillotine, for that is where he wants him to be. And the sense of irreducibility emanating from the Absurd is fundamental to both acts. Throughout the novel the question of judgement is present, but the work is so orchestrated as to make us suspend such judgement. The court verdict and sentence break this ambiguity with a definitive judgement. Realism, for him, was an outmoded literary Introduction 23 convention: the question of what reality was really like interested him more.
It is the aesthetic question of using techniques successfully to convince the reader that matters most to Camus, not conformity to preconceived notions and conventions about the real. It rejects the epicene uncertainties of what is for Meursault a religious mythology which robs man of a truth that holds him as much as he holds it.
Anthologie des poètes français contemporains/Tome troisième
Camus is clearly visible behind the Meursault of the closing pages which are written with such force. However, this alternative Christ-figure and hero has killed another man. Could a philosophy like the one espoused by Meursault with its proclivities for detachment from moral concerns and social values produce and legitimize a murder?
Meursault shows no regret, partly because he does not feel that he has killed or is a criminal, but also because regret has no place in his attitude. The novel ends on a very high note of individualist self-affirmation, but the sense that such an attitude is bound to lead to conflict, and probably to tragic conflict, remains. The dramatic and fatal resolution of this struggle is perhaps an indication that Camus was increasingly aware, when he wrote this novel, that the philosophy of his early works was in some senses inadequate: Sisyphus was not quite as happy as Camus imagined, nor quite as free.
In , Camus left Algeria for Paris. The man who believed that life is all the better lived the more meaningless it is, by a curious irony found himself living in the historical chaos of war, as though his philosophy of the Absurd had decided to incarnate itself in events in a very precise way.
The beaches of North Africa were filled with soldiers and weapons and many more real bodies than the fictitious one left by Meursault. Practical freedoms were soon restricted and civilized values were overturned: nobody had a guaranteed future as the social order collapsed. Camus joined the Resistance movement at the same time as he established himself as a famous writer. However, the young writer who, charged with ambition, went to the capital, was certainly not following in the footsteps of his Christ.
For this reason it is likely to remain a classic and enjoy a longer life than many other works of the same period. The most detailed biography of Camus as yet available is Herbert R. Full details of these and other editions used are in the bibliography. He wrote a book, Les Ipes, which Camus always claimed made a great impact on him.
However, although the play was written by , Camus revised the ending in the course of to include some elements of his concept of revolt. Camus comments on this in Lettre a Jean de Maisonseul, 8 juillet , Essais, pp. I discuss this later, cf. Quilliot, Essais, pp. Camus is not writing a sociological description but rather projecting his own ideas onto the young Algerians.
Tarrou in La Peste comes to the same conclusion and thus morally masters the plague cf. Essais, p. Actuelles III, Essais, pp. Carnets, I, p. See Select Bibliography.
Notes to the text, p. The sense that Meursault has of the beginning of something could imply knowledge of the conclusion of these gunshots in terms of the condemnation to death. Carnets, II, p. Carnets, II, pp. Le mot est mauvais. To recognize that life has no ultimate sense is to discover its value: indifference is here linked to attachment, as it is in Le Mythe de Sisyphe. See Notes to the text, p. The fullest analysis of these stylistic features is in M.
His profound enjoyment of the beach episodes with Marie needs no comment. See also Notes to the text, p. They can be linked to Plotinus see pp.
Carnets I, p. Leonard W. It is a practical assumption but not necessarily true.