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

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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…show more content…
A dog loyal to his owner won't run away at every opportunity, congruently, a person loyal to the laws of society shouldn't disobey them at every presented opportunity, for any reason (barring injustice). This makes Daru's motions of presenting the Arab with choice somewhat useless. If the Arab was loyal like a dog, Daru had to reason to even bother leaving the door unlocked, for no dog would have thought of unlocking the door themselves. On the other hand, if Daru is in the center of a vacuum, then it wouldn't matter who he performs his actions, philosophical conclusions are applied to and drawn from whether he offered the opportunity, regardless of what he offered it to. The power to make many decisions is rested on all members of society. Some outcomes are predetermined, and which actions are cannot be predicted by any simple rules. Why is it some men think about decisions and some just react to their environment like a glorified plant? Do all men know they have free will and understand what that means? Daru gave a choice to the Arab, was that fair for the Arab (and society) or was it an egotistical action based on what Daru thought was right, fair or just? Why did the Arab's ultimate choice depress Daru, and why did neither Balducci or Daru want to be responsible for another man? In the end the Arab really is 'the dog' of society. No decision was ever his (from the perspective of the reader and Daru), but still, how

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