Meursault’s Universal Moral Character

Albert Camus’s The Stranger has contributed writing styles and ideas to modern-day culture. For a great example, WAYNE, a well-rated show (not about Batman) that has received little press and a cult-like following, follows a title character Wayne as he avenges his father while possessing little to no social skills. A strong relationship can be drawn from the way that Camus’s Meursault and Shawn Simmons’s Wayne express their morals, emotions, & sense of justice to the outside world. Towards the beginning of our discussion as well as the very of The Stranger, we noted some interesting things about Meursault, namely that he got in a relationship just after his mother’s passing, him helping to lure a woman so that her ex-boyfriend could beat her up, and his quiet observing nature. The plot of the first episode of WAYNE follows a similar structure, although in a different order. I think that this is because Meursault’s character has become a guideline for writing a questionable protagonist.

When I first was reading The Stranger, I knew that Meursault reminded me of someone. His lack of response towards his mother’s passing, specifically that he did not cry and simply did something that he enjoyed doing gave me a sense of deja vu. Meursault’s reaction to others feeling sad for him and questioning why, to our class hypothesizing that he could still be in slight shock at the suddenness of the whole affair of the burial. The more that we talked, however, the more it seemed to be that he did the things he probably would have done anyway. This lack of change in the character’s demeanor when facing a life-changing event began to remind me more and more of Wayne and his unchanging morals. Once I made the initial connection, I saw more similarities in their demeanors. Another example was Meursault’s observational skills, as he would often observe the world around him and then choose how to respond to his surroundings, often not responding at all. Meursault will just accept things how they are and move on with his life, only stopping to do something when it is convenient for him to do so. Although I found this bothersome to read because he had no ambitions and it was hard to root for him as a protagonist, I found it easy to understand his motives and not become too attached to the character instead of focusing on his personal dilemmas and private life. Finally, Meuraults odd understanding of his friend’s want to punish his ex-lover allows the observer to become fully intrigued by his character. We see that he understands others and will try to help them when they ask for it, but must be approached by this person to even look twice at them. I don’t think that this kind of morally ambiguous character has ever been done quite as well as it was in The Stranger, but if you were to look for similar characters, you would be able to find them everywhere in modern media.

One thought on “Meursault’s Universal Moral Character

  1. Maggie B.

    This makes me interested to watch the show WAYNE and see what the correlation is. I fully agree that Meursault is observational and that he does most things only if they are convient for him. Another part of this blog post, made me wonder how the observational characteristic will transfer over into television. I mean how as a reader it is very clear how observational he is and it kind of puts readers into his mind, and I wonder what techniques are used in the show that reflect those same qualities and if they differ.


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