Meursalt as a Nihilist in Albert Camus's the Stranger

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MEURSAULT AS A NIHILIST IN ALBERT CAMUS ‘S THE STRANGER

Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a French novelist , essayist , dramatist, regarded as one of the finest philosophical writers of modern France. He earned a world –wide reputation as a novelist and essayist and won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1957. Through his writings and I some measure against his will, he became the leading moral voice of his generation during the 1950’s. one of the greatest modern writers; he expresses the moral concerns of twentieth century. His writings describe the contemporary feeling that life has no ultimate meaning beyond immediate experience. He explores the various philosophical schools of thought- absurdism, nihilism, existentialism etc. The Stranger or The Outsider is one of Camus’s best known novel. The theme and outlook of the novel is often taken as an example of existentialism as it concentrates on the absurdity of life and death, as well as of society. The novel however, at the same time has strong hints of nihilism with its central character Meursault showing characteristics of a nihilistic hero. This paper aims to analyze the nihilistic character of Meursault. Nihilism is literally, the belief in nothing. Originally the term was used to attack accused heretics during the middle-r ages. Subsequently, the term, however, was applied to a particular branch of philosophy- a radical form of skepticism maintaining the non existence of any objective basis for truth. As per this stand point, it demands the complete rejection of all established views. The novel tells a story of a young French Algerian who lives I, works and loves without passion. The book opens with the death of Meursalt’s mother and infact introduces the strange character of Meursalt who maintains an absolute silence even on the news of his mother’s death. He does not show the least sign of mourning. Meursalt then visits an acquaintance, Raymond, who is busy drinking and beating his girlfriend all day...
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