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Mersault And His Trial In Albert Camus's "The Stranger" This Was For An Ib Higher Level English Class...

890 words - 4 pages

Is there truly any justice in the novel The Stranger, written by Albert Camus? This is a question that naturally protrudes throughout the novel, as it is not abundantly clear what Meursault, the protagonist, was, in fact, put on trial for. At the beginning of the second part of the narrative, it is understood that he is put on trial for the murder of an Arab; however, it later comes to our attention that the murder was not the primary reason of his trial, and perhaps not even an essential one for that matter. The fact remains that Meursault was undoubtedly put on trial, not for the murder committed, but for being the way he was: unemotional through the eyes of society, which was represented by the jury.To the reader it seems only natural that one should be put on trial, not for their personality, but for the harmful acts that one may commit to another person. Therefore, the idea is strongly implanted in the novel, as well as the mind of the reader, that Meursault was put on trial for murder. Nevertheless, throughout the course of the novel, it becomes apparent that he was, as a matter of fact, not put on trial for the murder of the Arab, but instead, for acting in such a stoic manner. Being the honest, straightforward man he was, he answered all questions in that same conduct. Once Meursault had been appointed a lawyer, his lawyer inquired over the events of Maman's funeral. Meursault responded rather coldly when his lawyer had asked him if he had felt any sadness that day, saying that he "probably did love Maman, but that didn't mean anything. At one time or another all normal people have wished their loved ones dead." (p. 65) This quotation only demonstrates that he was unemotional. Now, one must ask the following question: how does this relate to the murder of the Arab? The answer is simple: it does not relate to the murder of the Arab. Being the representative of society, the jury opposes Meursault and accuses him of not conforming to society's natural ways, and being what we nowadays refer to as the "odd one out". They exclude him from society for his odd clear-cut and sincere demeanor, and for his manifestation of an inexpressive character.Another example is the moment in which the magistrate, a local member of the judiciary having limited jurisdiction, especially in criminal cases, questioned Meursault. In this particular scene, the magistrate changes the topic rather abruptly from his love for Maman, to which he responded he loved "the same as anyone"(p. 67), to the murder...

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