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Motif Of Violence In The Stranger By Albert Camus

756 words - 4 pages

Motif of Violence in Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider)

The Stranger written by Albert Camus is an absurdist novel revolving around the protagonist, Meursault. A major motif in the novel is violence. There are various places where violence takes place and they lead to the major violent act, which relates directly to the theme of the book. The major violent act of killing an Arab committed by Meursault leads to the complete metamorphosis of his character and he realizes the absurdity of life.


Meursault, an unemotional, a moral, sensory-orientated character at the beginning of the book, turns into an emotional, happy man who understands the "meaninglessness" and absurdity of ...view middle of the document...


The second act of violence takes place at the beach between two Arabs on one side and Raymond and Masson on the other. This leads to Raymond's getting hurt. Before this Camus foreshadows violence when Raymond gives Meursault a gun in case things get worse. After taking care of Raymond, Meursault goes back to the beach. He says to himself, "To go or to stay, amount to the same thing." This sentence was filled with irony because even though it did not matter to him at the time, this decision did change his life.


Thus comes the third and the most important violent act of the novel. Meursault wandering by himself finds himself around one of the Arabs. He being a sensualist person, who acted in accordance with his physical desire, shot dead the Arab. He did so because of the extreme heat and horrible weather conditions that pushed him to the ultimate limit. The imagery provided by Camus of the extreme condition of the weather makes the situation believable and understandable.


Meursault after killing the Arab is being examined in a trial. At this trial he is found guilty and is sentenced to be executed by...

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