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Murders as Victims of Their Own Acts: Selective Works by Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre - Essay Example

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Course Instructor: Date Submitted: Murderers as Victims of Their Own Acts: Selective Works by Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre both explore the morality and motivations behind murder in several of their works, particularly in Camus’ “The Outsider” and “The Just Assassins” and Sartre’s “Dirty Hands”…
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Murders as Victims of Their Own Acts: Selective Works by Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre
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Download file to see previous pages Both reflected their thoughts on moral ambiguity and the societal treatment of murderers and terrorists in the works mentioned. Between the three protagonists, the reader is presented with different motivations and circumstances; some murders are done for political justice whereas in “The Outsider” the protagonist is devoid of motive, reason or logic for the crime he has committed. Despite this, among other differences, each protagonist comes to the same end. They all die as a result of their actions and do not live to see the fruition of their desires in any way. In Albert Camus’ novel “The Stranger”, the reader is witness to a very literal case of a murderer becoming a victim of his own act, via the protagonist/narrator. Meursault murders an Arab man, is almost immediately put on trial, and is ultimately condemned to death by beheading. In this extremely literal and superficial way, the murderer becomes a victim of socially ordered death, due to the fact that he has killed another human being and must be punished for the crime. Though Meursault does not appear to have any sort of motive or reasoning for the crime, he also ends up in a state of peacefulness on receiving news of the jury’s verdict. Of course, this acceptance and peace for the inevitability of his oncoming death will be brief, as he does not have much time left before his scheduled death. However, far beyond the physical manifestations of becoming a ‘victim’ of his own actions in this way, the character of Meursault also becomes a victim of his own actions on a much deeper and multi-faceted level. Meursault as a character is utterly remarkable, in that he is quite unremarkable in every possible way (Day 84). He appears to have no unusual or outrageous attributes, opinions, qualities or flaws when the reader is initially introduced to him. He does nothing special, holds no special job, is not living under any unusual circumstances, does not discuss any extreme or judgemental personal opinions and is far from being emotionally distinctive. Meursault leads an existence in which “days are added to days without rhyme or reason … [and his life] is an interminable and monotonous addition” (Camus). However, it is this lack of special traits and engaged interaction in society and life that makes the character, paradoxically, very remarkable and unusual. As the reader unveils the protagonists’ inner thoughts and plot development of the story, it becomes clear that this character is remarkably detached from society in every way. Furthermore, not only is he detached from society, he is detached from life itself including family and relationships. He displays an unsettling degree of amorality and total lack of judgement of other people’s actions, thoughts and behaviours. Indeed, his detachment goes even further as we realise that he is also detached from his own emotions and self-identity to the extent that he appears to be lacking in both. Living within this sphere of complete detachment, Meursault appears not to be particularly happy or sad. He seems not to be particularly troubled, worried, content or any manner of descriptive extremes. His character lingers in a limbo of neither here nor there, taking each day as it comes and living for the present moment ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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