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The Existential View Of Absurdity Essay

1279 words - 6 pages

Absurdity, why does one event occur, yet the most obvious doesn’t? Many philosophers question absurdity and how it affects our everyday lives. But no matter how much it is analyzed, there is no explanation of the absurd. Even as pleasant as the world can be at times, there is no order and there is no reason for the events that occur. Albert Camus, the accomplished author of many amazing books knew about this idea and understood the meaning, which in turn influenced many of his great novels. One of his excellent novels, “The Plague,” exhibits the ideas of absurdity in many aspects. One being the idea of an absurd hero, or someone who realizes that the world lacks order, yet through that spectacular revelation continues through their respected life. Camus develops the characters in “The Plague,” to represent the characteristics of an absurd hero. One main character, Dr. Rieux is one of the best characters to describe the basis of the absurd hero. He understands that the world is absurd, but continues his work nonetheless.
An absurd hero is developed by the six tenets of existentialism: anxiety, death, the void, existence precedes essence, absurdity, and alienation. These six tenets explain the overwhelming question, “Why do we exist?”. To understand why we exist, one must first question why the absurd happens. Camus did such. Camus develops the plot of his existential novel through a plethora of absurd events that boosts the overall theme of the novel. One example of this is how the town of Oran turns it back on the sea at random moments of time. This is very strange, why would a town that is isolated between the sea and a mountain range want to turn away from the one source of its salvation and one of the few ways it could connect to the outside world. This absurd event also shows the existential theme of the void. Due to Oran being blocked from civilization due to its geographical location. This is a mind -boggling idea of turning away from the sea. Another example of how a tenet of existentialism is present in the novel, are the walls that alienate the citizens from the rest of the world. Being that Oran is a small sea port they depend on others to trade with them, it is absurd that they would build walls to block them from the incoming trade, and in turn their salvation. Death is ever-present throughout “The Plague,” and links one tenet to two others; anxiety and absurdity. The absurd fact of the matter is that who dies and survives is completely random. Camus doesn’t choose specifically who dies, it is the “luck” of the draw. Being that the deaths in the novel are random this creates anxiety throughout the sea port. An example of this existential anxiety is that everyone is fearing that they might be infected with the plague or they are going to be infected in the near future. This actually leads the townsfolk to follow another tenet, “existence precedes essence,” or living in the moment. In the middle of the disaster, the citizens of Oran...

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