The Absurd Hero Essay

1105 WordsApr 26, 20125 Pages
Larry March Professor R.M Stambaugh English 1102 24 February 2012 The embodiment of the absurd hero: “Existence precedes essence” The only thing we can’t not do is not choose. The story of The Guest is about Daru, a lonely schoolteacher in Camus’ boyhood home of Algeria. Daru likes living in solitude, but he must learn to recognize that choices are unavoidable and that his choices matter. The story takes place in the middle of the nineteenth century when Algeria is still a land full of conflict between the oppressed Algerian people and their French colonial rulers. At the beginning of the story the French send the gendarme, Balducci to Daru with an Arab convicted of murder. Through Balducci the prisoner comes under the charge of…show more content…
As the protagonist of the story, Daru expresses what Camus sees as the positive results of facing human responsibility. He revolts because one must be willing, if necessary, to make a decision that goes against the norm in order to affirm humanity. Daru revolts when he treats the Arab as a brother and offers him freedom. In the existentialist philosophy there is no moral guilt for an action, only a person’s choice and the results. Any guilt is found in people like Balducci who choose to take no action. In accepting this responsibility, Daru accepts the fundamental human freedom of choice, not only in himself but in the man to whom he gives the liberty to decide his own fate. In the story, the idea of the absurd hero leaves the way open for the birth of heroes such as Daru and such as the Arab might have been if he had had the courage to turn from the path leading to his own fate. Daru can be called an existential hero because he makes a decision that defines himself in terms of honor and courage. He made a commendable decision in granting the prisoner the freedom to choose. As an existentialist hero he receives no favor from the universe for his action. He acts alone. This is his absurdity, but it is also his greatness. The significance of his decision, Makes him the absurd hero. The story shines with love for life and beauty, with Daru’s intense pleasure in the vibrant scenery. Camus talks of sunlight and snow, and in describing the
Open Document