Aisha Bhatti A Essay

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Aisha Bhatti
Mr. Steinke
A.P. Literature
4 January 2015
Comparison between Oedipus and Meursault The Stranger and Oedipus the King are two literary works that were written approximately thousand years apart by different authors living in different time periods. The Stranger was written by Albert Camus who lived in post world war France. Oedipus the king was written by Sophocles who lived in ancient Greek: although they were written by different authors of different background, time, and location. One could nevertheless find similar traits among the two main characters Oedipus and Meursault in the two works. “My fate was being decided without anyone so much as asking my opinion” (Camus 98). “I have no more to say; storm as thou willst, and give the rein to all thy pent-up rage” (Sophocles 341-347). In this part of the play Teiresias implies that no matter what Oedipus does or says, fate will continue to play itself out. Existentialism is in essence a belief that the world we live in is fundamentally meaningless and absurd. Most Existentialists or Absurdists believe that each individual-not society or religion- is solely responsible for giving meaning to life and living it passionately and sincerely, or ‘authentically’. The ideas of Existentialism are discussed in not only Sophocles’ Oedipus the king but also in Albert Camus’ The Outsider. Many aspects of both texts incorporate Existential beliefs and readings. Including the concepts that fate and chance affect our lives, that we can expect crime and punishment as part of our fate, and therefore a man cannot be fully content with his life until he dies, such is the unpredictability of life. Like Oedipus, Meursault is a tragic hero. Unlike Oedipus, who has the tragic flaw of his own destiny, Meursault's tragic flaw was his own humanity; his own sense of honesty and commitment to his very normal ways were used against him to take him down. (Comparison/Contrast of Meursault and Oedipus: Same Differences). Camus explains:
After his meeting with the chaplain, whose insistence that Meursault turn to God in the wake of his death sentence puts Meursault into a “blind rage,” Meursault fully accepts the absurdist idea that the universe is indifferent to human affairs and that life lacks rational order and meaning. “As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. Finding it so much like myself—so like a brother, really—I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate” (Camus 122-123). Here Meursault finds that he is actively happy once he opens himself to the reality of human existence. Meursault finds that he is also happy with his position in society. He does not mind being a loathed criminal. He only wishes for companionship, “to feel less alone.” He accepts that this companionship will take the form of an angry mob on his execution day. He sees his impending execution as the “consummation” of his new understanding. The conclusions of those two works are also very similar. Meursault was to sentence him to death "in the name of the French people" (The…