Meursault or Sisyphus?

Whether it’s a coincidence or not, there is a very distinct parallel between “The Myth of Sisyphus” and The Stranger. The timing of this discovery has helped my understanding of not only the evolution of this story, but life in general, too. Over the weekend I not only learned who Sisyphus was, but I discovered that he was happy because he was aware. He was conscious of his situation and he was realistic about the hope he carried with him throughout. Therefore, every time he walked back down the hill, it was in that moment that he could reinvigorate his superiority. That is where he had power, even in a situation where his “whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing.”

Similarly, while waiting in his cell for the day of his execution, Meursault spends his time awake thinking of his appeal. He always begins by “assuming the worst” (114). That is, he considers how his life will go when there is simply no escape from his execution. And, although frightening to him, that is where Meursault seems to be able to find peace and clarity with the outcome. When his hope ceases and he stops giving himself any benefit of the doubt… that is when his journey towards indifference begins: “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” (122).

3 thoughts on “Meursault or Sisyphus?

  1. VERITY F.

    I think that what you are saying is very important. Usually that walk that Sisyphus has to take back down the mountain can be seen as a defeated walk, but viewing it as a positive outlet for him to think is much better and more complex! Amazing piece!


  2. Angela B.

    I like that you compared “The Stranger” and “The Myth of Sisyphus” because they correlate in a way of explaining the meaning of life. I do wonder tho, do you believe that life is meaningless or meaningful and why?


  3. charlotte g

    The similarities between these two stories both shine a light on the true meaning of life in the eyes of Camus. At first glance, it seems weird that although Meursault’s life is about to end he finds peace and joy same with Sisyphus whose punishment was hard and boring till the day he dies. However, I think once you accept something, there is an anger that goes away so your mind goes back to being in a calm state. In that calm state is where both of these characters had the realization that their life was over and that was okay because death is part of the human life cycle.


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