Meursault is The Villain, not The Hero.

Meursault is a murderer. A murderer!! I feel like this fact got lost throughout the story and class discussion of the theme. But Meursault is literally a horrible person. Yes, he may have discovered how to “unlock the key to happiness”, but at what cost? I agree that there is much to be impressed about Meursault and the way he lives his life, however, let’s not take it too far. The line between existentialism and sociopathy is not that thick. What I mean by this is although Meursault is able to be content by the end of the novel, the philosophy he embraced to accomplish this ultimately was harmful to those around him. Meursault is incapable of acknowledging the feelings of others. The most obvious case is the Arab whom he shot not once but four separate times. And what about the religious man whom he brought to tears at the end of the novel? It is these instances that suggest Meusault embraced his philosophy a little too much. I think it is okay to live as Meursault does but with the condition that you are careful not to inflict your practices on other people as Meursault does. Camus writes the novel encouraging sympathy for Meursault from the readers as it is beyond Meursault’s ability to act any different. Also because the story is told from Meursault’s perspective, we are given more insight into his thought process and ultimately made to feel as if we understand him more. But if we did not have all this insight, the simple circumstances surrounding the murder would lead most to conclude Meursault is just plain evil. Although I fell victim to what Camus tried to do as I did feel sympathetic towards Meursault, after much reflection I have concluded he is in fact a murderer and did deserve the death he got…unpopular opinion?

4 thoughts on “Meursault is The Villain, not The Hero.

  1. I completely agree with the fact that his murder gets swept under the rug and that his philosophy is pursued too far. Additionally with his sociopath tendencies, despite his ‘finding true happiness’ he never seems content t or happy with anything, and he really can’t be happy now that has dead. He’s just a weird guy with a weird take on life.


  2. I always found myself finding sympathy for Meursault. Knowing Meursaults thoughts and emotion made me feel sorry for him. The way this story written makes the reading want to sympathize with the main character although they shouldn’t be and I fell victim to that as well.


  3. Katie G.

    I agree with your viewpoint about Meursault being the villain. While he may be an existentialist and not believe in social norms, there is a difference between not believing in marriage and committing actual homicide. Despite his beliefs about everybody being elected to the same fate, he is not to be absolved from blame for his murder.


  4. Ben Ko.

    I really like this post and definitely agree with its points to an extent. I think that the way that Camus is almost able to trick the reader into sympathizing with Meursault in some aspects of his sentencing, even though his actions are not at all morally acceptable, is incredible. However, at its core, I don’t think that the lesson of the story is that Meursault is supposed to be a moral inspiration at all. Instead of feeling bad for Meursault because he is receiving retribution for killing someone, we are instead supposed to recognize the injustice that he experiences when being charged with murder not because he killed a man but because he didn’t show the “proper” emotions after his mother dies. There is a reason Camus has the prosecutor pretty much only talk about his lack of emotions over his mother’s death rather than the crime he is on trial for.


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