Albert Camus' idea of morality in 'The Stranger' is completely unconventional and this can be seen through the protagonist who is a total embarrassment to the society in which he finds himself. This disparity between what is expected of Meursault and what he displays forms the basis of Albert Camus' philosophy of morality. There is a big question mark on conventional morality which the author finds to be absurd. He seems to be questioning the fabric of societal morality on grounds of motivation; are some of those values upheld merely for con... Read more →
Take the last World Cup final. Zinedine Zidane was France’s finest player, a brooding, enigmatic, yet hugely talented individual. Towards the end of the game, without apparent provocation, he headbutted an Italian opponent. In doing so, Zidane behaved uncannily like Meursault, the anti-hero of Camus’s finest work, L’Etranger, who, for no obvious reason, one day shoots an Arab he encounters on the beach. And like Meursault, with whom the reader instinctively sides despite the indefensible nature of his actions, Zidane was lauded by the French public.
Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a
representative of non-metropolitan French literature. His origin
in Algeria and his experiences there in the thirties were
dominating influences in his thought and work. Of
semi-proletarian parents, early attached to intellectual circles
of strongly revolutionary tendencies, with a deep interest in
philosophy (only chance prevented him from pursuing a university
career in that field), he came to France at the age of
twenty-five. The man and the times met: Camus joined the
resistance movement during the occupation and after the
liberation was a columnist for the newspaper Combat. But
his journalistic activities had been chiefly a response to the
demands of the time; in 1947 Camus retired from political
journalism and, besides writing his fiction and essays, was very
active in the theatre as producer and playwright ( .,
Caligula , 1944). He also adapted plays by Calderon, Lope de
Vega, Dino Buzzati, and Faulkner's Requiem for a Nun. His
love for the theatre may be traced back to his membership in
L'Equipe, an Algerian theatre group, whose "collective creation"
Révolte dans les Asturies (1934) was banned for
The essay Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus), 1942, expounds Camus's notion of the absurd and of its acceptance with "the total absence of hope, which has nothing to do with despair, a continual refusal, which must not be confused with renouncement - and a conscious dissatisfaction". Meursault, central character of L'Étranger (The Stranger), 1942, illustrates much of this essay: man as the nauseated victim of the absurd orthodoxy of habit, later - when the young killer faces execution - tempted by despair, hope, and salvation. Dr. Rieux of La Peste (The Plague), 1947, who tirelessly attends the plague-stricken citizens of Oran, enacts the revolt against a world of the absurd and of injustice, and confirms Camus's words: "We refuse to despair of mankind. Without having the unreasonable ambition to save men, we still want to serve them". Other well-known works of Camus are La Chute (The Fall), 1956, and L'Exil et le royaume (Exile and the Kingdom), 1957. His austere search for moral order found its aesthetic correlative in the classicism of his art. He was a stylist of great purity and intense concentration and rationality.