Is Meursault a Sociopath or an Existentialist?

The definition of a sociopath is “a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience”. In the story The Stranger, the main character Meursault can be seen as a person with very sociopathic tendencies, such as having a lack of emotion, and lack of remorse, shame, and guilt after the death of his mother and his murder of the Arab. But is he actually a sociopath? Or has he just realized that there is no true meaning or purpose to life and that we are the ones who create our own happiness by accepting that?

As we discussed in class, existentialism is the theory that “existence precedes essence”, basically, we exist the moment we are born, without any purpose or meaning, and we define ourselves later in life through our experiences.

Meursault perfectly fits this description throughout the story as he constantly addresses the absurdity of life with his relationship with Marie, and the lives of the Arab and his mother.

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