The Stranger, by Albert Camus

969 WordsJun 16, 20184 Pages
How do you understand a stranger? How do you judge their actions? In Albert Camus’s existentialist text, The Stranger, the protagonist is a stranger to all but himself and because of his character, society finds Meursault guilty of being an incomprehensible and dangerous alien. The court that judges Meursault ignorantly sentences him to death. However, the first person perspective narrative allows the reader a glimpse into his mind, giving them a chance to understand his character and the actions that inevitably leads him to the guillotine. Although difficult to interpret, Meursault’s character, as it develops throughout his ‘normal’ life, can be expressed through more familiar medias. The main aspects of Meursault’s character — his…show more content…
Meursault’s acceptance of his fate and his triumph over it is represented by the refrain of sound of silence. The singer’s lines of “ do not know— / Silence like a cancer grows. / Hear my words that I might teach you / Take my arms that I might reach you” mirrors Meursault’s frustration when he thinks: “we’re all elected by the same fate, me and billions of privileged people like him who also called themselves my brothers? Couldn’t he see, couldn’t he see that?” (121). At this point, nobody sees; Meursault’s ideas, his character and his being are just fading away “in the wells of silence.” The sound of silence represents futility in the face of an unbeatable force. You cannot make sound with silence; you cannot make silence with sound. They cannot coexist. The refrain of the song impresses on the listener the idea of an overwhelming, unconquerable force: the absurd. The chaos of the world — the silence — is indifferent to the work of the tiny lives in it, and it is only when Meursault realizes this, losing all hope, does he win. It is only then, when Meursault’s acceptance of fate turns into a triumph. “As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world” (123). He

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