Camus’ Argument in “Myth of Sisyphus” Seen in “The Stranger”

Albert Camus’ argument in “Myth of Sisyphus” is that one can rise above their fate if one accepts it. In context, Sisyphus is repeatedly struggling to push the rock up the mountain, but when it falls back down, he is free from his burden and reflects that his struggle will not get him anywhere. Camus also argues that fate is only bad if people have hope, meaning that if people don’t think there is a better alternative then they can be at peace with their fate in life. In terms of Sisyphus, he knows he is struggling in his situation and accepts that struggle, therefore his punishment could only be bad if he has hope. Camus essentially believes that happiness and absurd awareness are connected and that humans can only be happy when they accept their life and true fate. Therefore, Sysphus is happy because he has accepted his struggle in his eternal fate and has risen above this fate, meaning he can be happy. Camus stating “[o]ne must imagine Sisyphus happy” also shows that he believes humans must be able to be happy through experiences without the reliance on hope or faith because Sisyphus has experienced happiness through his true experiences and accepted his fate. 

In Camus’ novel “The Stranger,” I noticed his argument about Sisyphus was applied to the narrator of the book, Meursault. At the very end of the novel, when Meursault is sentenced to death, he takes a lot of his time to think and reflect. He goes back and forth with himself, trying to decide if he should request an appeal of his sentence. He concludes that everyone is going to die anyway, so he decides to accept the rejection of his appeal. His mind believes that only after accepting that rejection, he can even consider the alternative of him being pardoned. After re-reading this section of “The Stranger,” I realized that Camus’ argument about Sisyphus having to accept his fate to be happy in life applies to Meursault while he is consulting with himself in jail because Meursault is setting himself up to not have any hope, and therefore cannot be disappointed.

3 thoughts on “Camus’ Argument in “Myth of Sisyphus” Seen in “The Stranger”

  1. Sam B.

    I definitely agree and I also think that Sysiphus was able to turn something that seems like a punishment into something more enjoyable by accepting his fate. That is also the same thing that happened to Meursault with his death.


  2. Katie W

    I agree with everything that you said here. The way that Sisyphus feels and the way that Mersault feels are very similar. They both know what there fate is going to be, but they have accepted that.


  3. Alaiya J.

    Nice connection to the end of the novel when Meursault is being executed. I think that’s the most important part to reference when you’re talking about the significance of his approach on life, because it was the most extreme example of what it means to live autonomously.


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