Eyes in the Stranger by Albert Camus Essay

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In The Stranger, Albert Camus personifies eyes as a source of knowledge. Characters come upon knowledge through many different sources from touch to hearing. The knowledge gained through eyes can range from, self discovery to understanding events taking place. Eyes and knowledge all seem to be related to Meursault. Meursault’s ability to understand events and circumstances depends on his clarity of vision. Unlike other characters, Meursault’s eyes do not provide knowledge, thus leaving characters misunderstanding him. Characters who have blue eyes help Meursault realize a truth about himself. Unlike the other characters, Meursault’s eyes lack knowledge. In order to understand why Meursault killed the Arab or why he refused to convert to…show more content…
He looked away and, without altering his posture, asked if it was because I felt utterly desperate that I spoke like this. I explained that it wasn’t despair I felt, but fear—which was natural enough. Generally when people lie they look away from the person that accused them, however, even when Meursault looks the magistrate in the eyes and tells him what he thinks, the magistrate is still left unsatisfied. Meursault’s lack of insightful eyes leaves everyone questioning him, and never fully understanding him even when he explicitly states it. The understanding of events depends on the character’s clarity of vision. The old saying “seeing is believing” comes into play in The Stranger; Meursualt never really understands or realizes events or actions that he had performed while his vision was impaired. One example is when Meursault shoots the Arab. Right before he pulls the trigger he describes, “Beneath a veil of brine and tears my eyes were blinded; I was conscious only of the cymbals of the sun clashing on my skull, and, less distinctly, of the keen blade of light flashing up from the knife, scarring my eyelashes, and gouging into my eyeballs” (38). Meursault is more aware of the weather and physical sensations than his own actions, thus he never fully understands why he shot the Arab in the first place, and being condemned for it. Meursault thinks to himself that he could never get around the idea of becoming a criminal. Once in the Jail cell, Meursault
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