Camus's Observations on Dogmatic Systems in the Stranger

Topics: Absurdism, Existentialism, Meaning of life Pages: 3 (829 words) Published: April 18, 2006
Camus's Observations on Dogmatic Systems

Camus's The Stranger, illustrates the absurdity of human existence. Through Meursault's bereavement, Camus emphasizes his philosophy that individual human life has no rational order or structure. Also, as life is connected through the certainty of death, it inevitably faces the same meaningless end. Camus ridicules the inanity of dogmatic systems as an attempt to establish meaning in an otherwise trivial existence.

In Camus's The Stranger, Meursault's indifferent behavior reinforces the notion that human life is absurd. Believing that any action is equal in its insignificance, Meursault conducts himself without distinguishable order or purpose. This is apparent with his attitude toward Marie. In every instance, Meursault regards her with indifference. On one occasion Marie asks Meursault if he loves her. He responds, "[Love] doesn't mean anything, but I don't think so" (Camus 35), noting, "When she laughed I wanted her again," (Camus 35). Dismissing Marie's question for his own immediate, physical desires, Meursault demonstrates the lack of order or meaning that dictate his actions. The confrontation with the Arab is a similar situation showing Meursault's disinterest. Meursault offers a detailed account of the heat and the glare that assaults him on the beach. Shuffling toward the Arab with a gun in his pocket, the account of the weather seems oddly mechanical. As with Marie, Meursault is apathetic. "I squeezed my hand around the revolver. The trigger gave… Then I fired four more times at the motionless body where the bullets lodged without leaving a trace," (Camus 59).

Though Meursault has no purpose behind his actions, the judicial system intervenes and manufactures it. Camus attacks their attempt to synthesize meaning as futile struggles to find sense in an irrational world. Both the prosecution and defense offer explanations for Meursault's behavior based on logic and reason. They argue under the pretense...
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