The Myth of Meursault

Camus’ argument about Sisyphus is about the existential outlook on life. He references the myth as a way to connect how Sisyphus pushing a boulder for eternity demonstrates how some people are in control of their fate, while others are merely a pawn in it. Before being condemned to push the rock, Sisyphus was able to see the beauties of the world, like the sparkling sea and smiles of the Earth. And when the rock descends to the bottom, it reminds man of the joys of life and depresses him further, this is how the rock wins. But in contrast, Sisyphus’ motivation to go down to the bottom and try again, knowing it’s pointless, shows how strong-willed he is. Camus argues that everyday people have the same conditions as Sisyphus, but Sisyphus is happy because he knows the extent of his life and can therefore recognize himself as the controller of his destiny. As Camus says, “his fate belongs to him.”

When you examine Camus’ essay on Sisyphus alongside The Stranger, it would be difficult to figure out which one came first if you didn’t know already. The stories are interconnected because Meursault’s story is one where he was in control of his fate, and Sisyphus took control after laboring aimlessly for 10,000 years. If it were a competition, Meursault would definitely have the bragging rights since he figured it out way faster. Meursault was proactive instead of reactive to his surroundings, and didn’t succumb to the expectations of his peers. And overall, I feel the most powerful takeaway from Camus’ writing was its emphasis on autonomy, and how when humans eliminate outside distractions and embrace our own values is when we can truly dictate our destiny.