Comparison of Camus and Dostoevsky

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Raskolnikov-A “Stranger” to Mersault?

Though written by completely different authors in completely different times and places, the works The Stranger and Crime and Punishment show many similarities in the actions and views of the protagonists. Raskolnikov and Meursault show similarities through their existentialist views of life, actions towards others, and wanting of escape from the real world or conscience world. These character similarities suggest similarities in the views of the two authors Fyodor Dostoevsky and Albert Camus. The two authors are trying to convey slightly different, yet almost identical existentialist views to the reader. These views can be seen very much in the characters of Meursault and Risk.

Both Raskolnikov and Meursault share existentialist views. This is shown in both the actions and words of the two characters. Although Raskolnikov is extremely poor, he decides to give Marmeladov’s family his last roubles. This shows his carelessness in regards to poverty. This reflects the existentialist view of carelessness of material things. He also says “it was not the horrors of prison life, not the hard labour, the bad food, the shaven head or the patched clothes that crushed him. What did he care for all those trials and hardships.” (Dostoevsky 465) This statement shows that Raskolnikov really doesn’t care much about any of these horrible things that happen to him. This leads the reader to believe that Raskolnikov is almost completely careless of everything, thus supporting his existentialist views on life. Likewise Meursault’s views show, if possible, an even more careless existence. Although more extreme in essence, they are also very similar to those of Raskolnikov. Meursault sees his own mother’s funeral as a burden to his weekend plans. When he returns from the funeral, he cannot even recall the day on which she died. “Maman died today. Or maybe it was yesterday, I don’t know.” (Camus 1). For many people, a...
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