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condemned due to The Stranger and The Odessey: Mersault and Sisyphus

Sisyphus was given a punishment by the gods, to push a rock up a hill, only to have it fall down on him again. Mersault is a person accused of murder who has spent over a year in jail. What both these characters have come to realize is that they are forced to live in these situations created by the gods, therefore they might as well enjoy or get used to them.

Mersault is forced to live in a cell, without his cigarettes, and with limited visitation rights. When this happens, Mersault recalls what his mother told him. She said, "One gets used to everything." When Mersault realizes he is not going to get out of jail, he becomes indifferent, just like he always does, and accepts his situation, searching for any positive aspects to his incarceration. He defies punishment by accepting his situation and enjoying himself in jail. Therefore, the whole point of Mersault going to jail is obliterated. When Mersault is condemned to death, he does not act surprised, although he wishes he did not have to die. After a while he also accepts that. It does not matter to him that he is dying, so long as he is dying for a purpose.

Sisyphus is damned for eternity to roll a rock up a hill. If he were to view his fate decreed upon him as punishment, for the rest of forever, then he would only sicken an already terminally ill situation (speaking metaphorically of course). Sisyphus starts to find meaning in his work, starts to enjoy his work, almost to take pride in his work, like a true laborer.

Mersault is like Sysiphus, in many ways. The only real notable difference is that Sisyphus has been punished by the gods, whereas Mersault does not believe in god. Mersault is indifferent to his situation, as is Sisyphus, as apparent from Camus description. Mersault and Sisyphus both expressed a love for life (Mersaults heart jumped at the idea of being pardoned, Sisyphus is being 'punished' due to his desire to stay in the real world). And most importantly, Mersault and Sisyphus both defy their detractors. They overcome their rulers. Mersault does not do it to prove anything to anybody. He just does it because it would be pointless to act any other way. With Sisyphus he can hold his head higher than the gods now, his work has ceased to be punishment, the gods have lost, he has won.

For Mersault and Sisyphus to overcome their struggles, they had to be placed in one. Their background for reaching their struggle is what makes them unique. Recalling such people with different philosophies, like the Denver Nuggets most explosive player Mahmoud-Abdul Rauf, who believes in not standing up for something he does not believe in, he has shown that by standing up for a different philosophy than most people believe in can lead to rejection and tragedy. What was special about Mersault was where his priorities lay, which made him think different from everybody else, therefore enabling the world to brand him. Mersault is the anti-Christ because he smoked and drank coffee at his mothers funeral. Sisyphus was not regarded by a society as a vile person, but he was not accepted, he did not have interaction with them. These odd situations placed them both in struggles for their un-redeemable acts.

Mersault converses with the warden to discover that "prison deprives one of freedom." He understands that incarceration is punishment, just as Sisyphus did. They both move on to view their positions from a different perspective. Sisyphus moves from his position of sadness, to a position of happiness, mainly, in my view, to defy the gods, therefore it is not true happiness just defiance. He "...obeys fate without knowing it, as Oedipus did. Similarly Mersault accepts his imprisonment with the same kind of indifference that he takes everything else. Mersault, in fact, makes his own freedom by hanging on to his memories, he overcomes imprisonment, because he really is not imprisoned anymore.

Mersault can be considered a real world interpretation of Sisyphus, only a lot different and emotionless. Mersault has never really expressed a desire for anything, whereas ... more

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Outsider

In The Outsider, Albert Camus portrays Meursault, the books narrator and main
character, as detached, and unemotional. He does not think much about events or
their consequences, nor does he express much feeling in relationships or during
emotional times. He displays an impassiveness throughout the book in his
reactions to the people and events described in the book. After his mothers
death he sheds no tears; seems to show no emotions. He displays limited feelings
for his girlfriend, Marie Cardona, and shows no remorse at all for killing an
Arab. His reactions to life and to people distances him from his emotions,
positive or negative, and from intimate relationships with others, thus he is
called by the books title, The Outsider. While this behaviour can be
seen as a negative trait, there is a young woman who seems to want to have a
relationship with Meursault and a neighbour who wants friendship. He seems
content to be indifferent, possibly protected from pain by his indifference.
Meursault rarely shows any feeling when in situations, which would, for most
people, elicit strong emotions. Throughout the vigil, watching over his
mothers dead body, and at her funeral, he never cries. He is, further,
depicted enjoying a cup of coffee with milk during the vigil, and having a smoke
with a caretaker at the nursing home in which his mother died. The following
day, after his mothers funeral, he goes to the beach and meets a former
colleague named Marie Cardona. They swim, go to a movie, and then spend the
night together. Later in their relationship, Marie asks Meursault if he wants to
marry her. He responds that it doesnt matter to him, and if she wants to get
married, he would agree. She then asks him if he loves her. To that question he
responds that he probably doesnt, and explains that marriage really isnt
such a serious thing and doesnt require love. This reaction is fairly typical
of Meursault as portrayed in the book. He appears to be casual and indifferent
about life events. Nothing seems to be very significant to him. Later on in the
book, after he kills an Arab, not once does he show any remorse or guilt for
what he did. Did he really feel nothing? Camus seems to indicate that Meursault
is almost oblivious and totally unruffled and untouched by events and people
around him. He is unwilling to lie, during his trial, about killing the Arab.
His reluctance to get involved in defending himself results in a verdict of
death by guillotine. Had Meursault been engaged in his defence, explaining his
actions, he might have been set free. Meursaults unresponsive behaviour,
distant from any apparent emotions, is probably reinforced by the despair, which
he sees open and feeling individuals experience. He observes, for example,
Raymond cheated on and hurt by a girlfriend and sees his other neighbour,
Salamano, very depressed when he loses a dear companion, his dog. Meursaults
responses are very different, he doesnt get depressed at death nor does he
get emotionally involved. He appears to be totally apathetic. Thus, he seems to
feel no pain and is protected from lifes disappointments. Sometimes a person
like Meursault can be appealing to others because he is so non-judgmental and
uncritical, probably a result of indifference rather than sympathetic feelings.
His limited involvement might attract some people because an end result of his
distance is a sort of acceptance of others; thus he is not a threat to their
egos. Raymond Sintes, a neighbour, seems to feel comfortable with Meursault.
Sintes does not have to justify himself because Meursault doesnt comment on
how Sintes makes money or how he chooses to live his life. Even though Meursault
shows no strong emotions or deep affection, Marie, his girlfriend, is still
attracted and interested in him. She is aware of, possibly even fascinated by,
his indifference. It is although Meursault lives in another world in his head,
much like an autistic child. Though he doesnt seem to have trouble expressing
his thought, he cannot communicate with people so that they understand the way
the way he thinks or the way they think. Meursault does not understand the way
society is run, it is asthough he does not know the difference between right and
wrong, reacting (or even acting) as a mildly retarded person would. Is it then
fare to punish a man because of his lack of understanding in how society works?
There are countless examples of Meursault's incapability to act as an average
person ... more

condemned due to

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