The Human Condition
Does life ever seem pointless and discouraging? In Albert Camus's "The Myth of Sisyphus," Camus describes the correlation between Sisyphus's fate and the human condition. In the selection, everyday is the same for Sisyphus. Sisyphus is condemned to rolling a rock up a mountain for eternity. Camus's "The Myth of Sisyphus" forces one to contemplate Sisyphus's fate, how it relates to the human condition, and how it makes the writer feel about her part in life.
Camus states "if this myth is tragic, that is because its hero is conscious" (Camus). Condemned by the gods, Sisyphus does not acknowledge his fate until after the rock rolls back down the mountain and he begins his journey to retrieve it. The gods believe that no punishment could be worse than "futile and hopeless labor" (Camus). He spends all his time and energy in basically accomplishing nothing. So knowing this, why does he continue to push the rock? He only concedes his fate when he has time to think about his actions. Well, what is Sisyphus's alternative? He only has the rock and the mountain. He can sit there and contemplate his fate for eternity or he can continue moving the rock.
Camus believes that Sisyphus's fortune is similar to human life. Through all the activities and events people do throughout life, simply nothing is accomplished in the end. Sisyphus is a direct symbol of the human condition. He begins to take pride in pushing the rock up the mountain. If he views the fate dictated upon him as punishment, then he will only wallow in an already incurably bad situation. Instead, he starts to find meaning in his fate, starts to enjoy what he does, almost to take pride in his work, like a true laborer. Thus, Sisyphus is the "absurd hero," because, like people he has a goal he believes that he can ultimately accomplish (Camus). He, in his own small way spites the gods by taking delight in pushing this rock over and over again.
How might one feel about this...
Cited: Camus, Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus. 1996. Katharena Eiermann. Retrieved 11 Feb. 2005.
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