The Schoolmaster In Albert Camus's The Guest

738 words - 3 pages

In Albert Camus's "The Guest," an idealistic schoolmaster, Daru, is forced to make many unsettling decisions when ordered to deliver an Arab prisoner to higher authorities in Tinguit. From the beginning, after the prisoner is transferred into his custody, Daru chooses to treat him as a guest rather than a prisoner. Also, Daru decides not to cast judgment on the Arab for the crime of killing his cousin. Lastly, Daru chooses not to play God and assume the awesome responsibility of deciding another man's fate. Thus, when Daru is faced with a series of confusing and complicated situations he chooses to be himself and make his own decisions rather than be influenced by others.

The mere thought of keeping a prisoner in one's home is quite troubling, but when Daru is forced to keep the Arab as his "guest," he is compelled to act as a good host. From the beginning, Daru demonstrates compassion, sensitivity, and humanely acts in many different ways. Daru insists that the prisoner should be untied. "Once his hands were free... he held out a glass of tea." Daru also feeds, cooks for, and shares meals with the prisoner. "Daru set the table for two....served the Arab, 'Eat,' he said." Even though it is an imposition on him, he feels "a sort of brotherhood" when he decides to share the same bedroom with the Arab. In the end, Daru acted as host, providing the prisoner with food and money for his journey toward Tinguit. Daru never made the prisoner feel as though he was truly imprisoned. Daru's kindhearted nature made the prisoner feel more like a proper "guest."

Even though Daru treated his guest with kindness, it would not have been out of the average person's character to pass judgment on him for the crime of killing his cousin. At first, Daru "felt a sudden wrath against this man, against all men with their rotten spite, their tireless hates, their blood lust." Later after sharing a meal with him, Daru decides not to pass judgment regarding crime for which the Arab was charged; instead he befriends this man,...

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