Character Analysis Meursault


Because so much time has been spent throughout the discussion of this novel analyzing Meursault's character, there is little elaboration that would be more than speculation. Basically, one should remember that Meursault is a man who will not lie about himself, a man who cannot accept the formulas by which his society convinces itself it is happy. He will not look forward to a life after death, he will not use religion as a vehicle to avoid facing the fact that he must die, and he refuses to mask his calm acceptance of his mother's death. He defies all judges, except himself: he will not play the hypocritical penitent for his interrogators and prosecutors.

Perhaps one of the most valuable ways to understand Meursault is to quote what Camus has said about him: "Meursault for me," writes Camus, is "a poor and naked man, in love with the sun which leaves no shadows. He is far from being totally deprived of sensitivity for he is animated by a passion, profound because it is tacit, the passion for the absolute and for truth. It is still a negative truth, the truth of being and feeling, but a truth without which no conquest of the self or of the world is possible." That is why, until the very end, "Meursault is the man who answers but never asks a question, and all his answers so alarm a society which cannot bear to look at the truth."

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