Meursault and Sisyphus: Making Do in a State of Suffering

Meursault has been sent to prison. He has committed the ultimate crime, murder, by shooting an Arab man five times.

This mirrors Sisyphus’s position of eternal punishment, being bound to roll a rock up a mountain, only for it to fall back down, in a continuous loop forever.

But writer Albert Camus insists that Sisyphus is actually happier than most humans ever will be. That, because his life is confined to suffering, by changing his mindset and accepting his reality, living as a prisoner instead of a free man, Sisyphus can live in eternal bliss.

“All Sisyphus’ silent joy is contained therein. His fate belongs to him. His rock is a thing. (Camus)”

Meursault, rather than wallowing in his own pity and desiring the outside world, he adapts to the state of his life and accepts his punishment, achieving a morbid sense of comfort in his suffering. Meursault is the model prisoner, his life is carved out for him and he accepts it, rather than dreading it. He has his small fixes, but ultimately understands that his life is only punishment, and in his trademark boring and detached way, he’s accepted it. Only time will tell what awaits him next. How will what comes next tie into The Myth of Sisyphus, if at all?

One thought on “Meursault and Sisyphus: Making Do in a State of Suffering

  1. AVERY M

    I agree with your view on the connection between Sisyphus and Meursault. The prison guard even communicates with Meursault about the nature of punishment, and they discuss how he is the only prisoner who understands it. He also is able to find the same happiness that Sisyphus experiences once he starts accepting his fate and thinking the thoughts of a prisoner.

    Like

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