He has no initial reaction to the news of her death, and at her funeral service he did not bother to even see her before she was buried. His lack of emotion is evident in the very first lines of the book, “Mother died today. Or maybe it was yesterday, I don’t know.” This shows that Meursault is hardly caring for his mother. Society’s standards would result in him to be in absolute mourning and wanting to go as fast as possible to her body. This is not the only example of Meursault’s lack of emotion and care for factors in his life. He does not care for love and marriage after having intercourse with someone; the society standard at this time was to get married if two partners had intercourse. He does not care for promotion and career advancement when his boss offers him a better job opportunity; the standard at that time and right now is to pursue the best career possible. In these scenarios Meursault is living free from the chains, and does whatever he thinks is right to do. Eventually, society rejects him and his ways, and he gets in trouble with the law. He is judged by society and his ways are ridiculed, making Meursault appear to be a monster.
He believes that death is part of the human life, we are born and then we die, as simple as that. He doesn’t try to understand death, he simply accepts it. Most people do not like to accept that death is something that will eventually happen to them, which completely terrifies them. This is why everybody would describe Meursault as unsentimental because he is not scared to death and he accepts that the time on earth is limited. Not only is Meursault indifferent from society’s standards, but he refuses to lie. He refuses to hide his true feelings regarding his mother’s death by pretending to cry at her funeral. Hence, supporting Camus’ idea that “To lie is not only to say what isn’t true…to say more than is true, and, as far as the human heart is concerned, to express more than one feels”. Meursault certainly challenges moral standards created by society by being honest, which gives him an image of an apathetic man.
Meursault also maintains the kind of ironic disinterest we would expect from someone would identify with the absurd. He prefers observing events going on around him, rather than getting directly involved; one chapter describes Meursault spending an entire day sitting on his balcony watching passers-by in the street, this is a prime example. Even when he becomes directly involved in events, he refuses to get too trapped up in them. When his “ lover”, Marie, asks him to marry her, he tells her no and that he doesn't love her but it makes no difference to him if they get married or not. She is taken back by this statement and begins to question her own self. When he kills the Arab, there is a sense that he is not really there entirely, that he is not really doing what he is doing. It seems almost as if he is witnessing himself shooting the Arab rather than actually doing it.
Meursault has no reason for his actions, including his inability to feign remorse at his mother’s funeral, his insensitivity and killing the Arab. Meursault’s indifference to his life implies that one is born, one is going to die, and one will no longer have any importance if he previously had any importance at all. Meursault’s indifference to his life was highlighted when he tells the Chaplin that he didn’t need anybody’s help and says, “ I just didn’t have the time to interest myself in what didn’t interest me” (117). Meursault was offered soul cleansing, catharsis, through having faith in order to help him through the execution process. However, Meursault rejects the help and is dehumanized by the Chaplin when he implies that he doesn’t care about the value of his life and the world, because the world is meaningless and everyone eventually dies. The implication of indifference contributed to Meursault’s dehumanization by the
Consequently, Meursault was put in jail and given a lawyer, but before given a lawyer he states how “I admitted I hadn’t hired an attorney and inquired whether it was really necessary to have one” which explains how indifferent this situation was to him (Camus 36). While if he felt any sadness the day Maman died, Meursault answers with “I probably did love Maman, but that didn’t mean anything” therefore upsetting his lawyer because his answer was too truthful (Camus 65). After that answer it was apparent that his lawyer was upset and even asks Meursault if “he held back his natural feeling” which Meursault said no too, making the lawyer seem disgusted with Monsieur Meursault. This little dispute made Meursault conclude that “I made him feel uncomfortable” which isn’t unusual with Meursault and his way of communicating with others (Camus 66). After Meursault’s trial for cold blooded murder, he is sentenced to an execution, and that is when he realizes he can finally
In conclusion Meursault did kill the arab and is then guilty of the crime, but the crime was not severe enough to be dealt with that severely. I believe that if Meursault had a ¨normal¨ behavior and mindset, the outcome would be less drastic. Meursault was just misunderstood and labeled as a monster for something he could not
Rather, Meursault chooses not to dwell on the matter because the death would not essentially cause any difference in his ongoing life. Furthermore, Meursault’s lack of repentance after murdering a man solidifies the fact that he is a significant nonconformist. For instance, during the questioning for his action, he “didn’t take… [the examining magistrate] seriously” and “it all seemed like a game” to him (63-64). Also, he “was even going to shake his hand” on his way out (64). The values of society state that a criminal should feel at least some regret over his crimes. Thus, most would agree that the arrested should feel some fear and guilt simply from facing the justice system. However, through his actions and attitude, he just ignores all of the generally accepted rules. Not only he lacks the emotion of remorse, he rather enjoys the time. Meursault’s indifference to the death of his mother and the arrest demonstrates his inability to conform to society’s norms.
All through the novel, Meursault lacks emotion and sympathy. In the beginning, Monsieur undergoes his mother’s funeral where he shows no empathy. From then on, it is clear that Monsieur Meursault isn’t sensitive at all. Later on in the novel, when asked about his thoughts on love and marriage, Meursault states that he doesn’t understand the point of it. Not many people thought much about Monsieur Meursault until he murdered someone. Many people thought he was inhumane for showing no signs of guilt for murder, especially the prosecutor, “Has he so much as expressed any remorse? Never, gentlemen. Not one during the preliminary hearings did this man show emotion over his heinous offense” (Camus 100). All in all, it is shown that while on trial, Meursault did not show any sign of remorse for taking someone’s life.
During the trial his lawyer asks, “Is he being accused of burying his mother or of killing a man?” (Camus 93). This question showing how the court or society was judging him based on “exposing the dark workings of this criminal soul” (Camus 96), as opposed to the arbitrary shooting. The murder was not malicious. He only killed the man as a response to “a red hot blade gnawing at [his] eyelashes” (Camus 60). Although Meursault speaks the truth he is judged by a system which does not recognise his moral code. This system views murder as immoral regardless of the intention, whilst Meursault sees no shame in his action as it wasn’t borne from malice. In effect he is convicted for not conforming. In the Afterword Camus says “the hero of the book is condemned because he doesn’t play the game” (Camus 118). Meursault pulled the trigger out of tension from the heat and was not out of revenge or hatred towards the Arab.
The prosecution uses Meursault’s collected matter and disconnection from what a majority of society would see as personal and emotional events as reasoning to explain that Meursault doesn’t have a sole. Everything that Meursault says to anyone is the truth because he doesn’t see why he would lie about any of it and yet every time that he is honest about what happened and how he feels about it, everyone watching the trial seems to think less and less of him. Society wanted a son that wept at his mother’s funeral even when he did not feel sad or distraught. They wanted a murderer who repented for what they did and put on a big show of asking for forgiveness. It wouldn’t matter if it was true or not as long as it was convincing enough but when somebody said that they wouldn’t play along with that idea when that wasn’t how he was, they demonized him. Humans want a nice, easy idea of what a human behaves like so that they can put everyone in a box and if somebody doesn’t fit into that box, they are expected to pretend that they do. They are expected by society to find a way to bury the ‘strange’ and settle down in the box built for them so that everyone can be packed away together in a nice, neat order. This is the type of thinking that prevails within societies all over the world and is a major theme that shows
Although beast-like, Meursault has some human characteristics, and these are so defined as to be amazing. One is his amazing capacity for telling the truth. He is in fact absurdly honest when in the court room he says, "the witness is right. It's true, I did offer him a cigarette" (90). Although such a response might normally be contrived to impress and elicit sympathy from the jury, Meursault is not that kind of person. No normal human would go beyond the truth in this way to offer evidence that would hurt his position, especially when death is on the line. Another human characteristic is his ability to rationally assess a situation. We see this in every aspect of his life, from details of the people and weather at the funeral to his nonchalant narrative of the court proceedings. Only twice does his beast feel threatened enough to take over.
After the confrontation between Sintes and his mistress’ brother, Meursault assists him by accepting the revolver to use for self defense: “The trigger gave;... I shook off the sweat and the sun. I knew that I had shattered the harmony of the day, the exceptional silence of a beach where I’d been happy. Then I fired four more times at the motionless body...And it was like knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness” (59). Meursault enters “the doors of unhappiness” after “he fired four more times at the motionless body”. Despite being aware that he “shattered the harmony of the day”, he accepts his crimes and the consequences he may endure because of it. Unlike the French society that disregards all responsibility of imposing violence among the Arabs, Meursault admits to his faults and surrenders himself to a lifetime of despair. Hence, through his consciousness Meursault enlightens himself to defy social norms and continue to choose his own path in life. Subsequently, Meursault embraces his consequences as he pleads guilty to his crime. After being sentenced to death, Meursault experiences an epiphany as he realizes that it is through hatred and condemnation from others that brings justice to his crimes: “For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution
After committing murder, Meursault was arrested and put in jail. While in jail, he had to see the magistrate a few times, and in those visits he found himself being irritated because of the heat. As Meursault was being questioned, he felt the air “getting hotter and hotter” (Camus 69), and it creates a mood of irritation. He did not want to hear anymore of the imposing tirade given by the magistrate. Then Meursault stated that he “could see the red sand and feel the burning of the sun on [his] forehead” (Camus 67). In this scene, he got irritated and angry when he was forced to believe that there was meaning in life. He does not want anything that is going to disturb his state and “thoughts...of a free man” (Camus 76). As a free man, the only thing that matters is living life detached from the world because this ensures that he would not have to deal with the irrationality of things. Just like what Sprintzen argued on his article “The Stranger”, Meursault “does not ‘live by the rules’. He does not think like ordinary people. He does not pay his respects, but seems indifferent to everything that is usually taken seriously” (Sprintzen). His strangeness allows his emotional state to be controlled by the sun and the heat. The sun and the heat affect his physical being and it prevents him from acknowledging his emotions. The sun and the weather serve as a controlling force that allow Meursault to escape the irrationality of life.
They say, “psychopaths are dangerous… commit crimes in cold blood…, and attack proactively” (Weller 2). The adversaries argue that Meursault killed a man with more than one shot and that he did it purposely, and a psychopath had a greater will for homicide compared to others. However, he killed the man in the beginning by accident and shot more because of his impulsive act that many sociopaths have. Moreover, he was never a threat until one accident that caused him to be seen cold and plan a murder when it was not planned at all which sociopaths do unlike psychopaths who plan all their ideas. Opposers still argue that he is a psychopath since, “psychopaths are fearless; sociopaths are not, Psychopaths do not have a sense of right and wrong” (Weller 3). They debate that Meursault never felt fear. Also, he never knew what was god and bad because he made friends with those that abused someone or something. In contrast, Meursault felt fear for the first time in a while when he was at his trial and everyone was hating on him. He felt the fear of dying all alone and being hated so much. In addition, he made friends with people that did horrible acts because he never really cared or judged people by what they do and not because he did not know that they were good or bad. He could not be a psychopath since he did not mean to kill a man in the beginning, but he killed a man by
During the trial, once people realized Meursault was different, it seemed like they were out to get him, looking for reasons to execute him. This is irrational. The crime Meursault committed in the first place was irrational, he didn 't have any reason to kill the Arab. Even so, the people around him try desperately to find an explanation, which is futile because there was no reason to begin with. This is the struggle Meursault faces throughout the book. He is in a constant conflict with the universe.