Essay about The Myth Of Sisyphus

Submitted By Taylor-Burrier
Words: 646
Pages: 3

The Myth of Sisyphus
Albert Camus argues that the absurd hero sees life as a constant struggle, without hope. Any attempt to deny or avoid the struggle and hopelessness that defines our lives is an attempt to escape from the absurd contradiction. Camus’s single requirement for the absurd man is that he lives with full awareness of the absurdity of his position. While Sisyphus is pushing his rock up the mountain, there is nothing for him but toil and struggle. But in those moments where Sisyphus is descends from the mountain free from his burden, he is aware. He knows that his struggle will get him nowhere. This awareness is precisely the same awareness that the absurd man has in this life. So long as Sisyphus is aware, his fate is no different and no worse than our lot in life.
We react to Sisyphus’s fate with horror because we see its futility and hopelessness. Of course, the central argument of this essay is that life is a futile struggle of hope. However, Camus also suggests that this fate is only horrible if we continue to hope, if we think that there is something more that is worth aiming for. Our fate only seems horrible when we place it in contrast with something that would seem preferable is we accept that there is no preferable alternative, than we can except our fate without horror. Only then, Camus suggests that we can accept our fate without reservation. Camus states “All Sisyphus’ silent joy is contained therein. His fate belongs to him. His rock is his thing” (764). Therefore Sisyphus is above his fate because he accepts it. His punishment is only horrible if he can hope or dream for something better, of which he does not. This means that the gods are unable to punish him.
The theory of tragedy is a complicated subject beyond the scope of this commentary, but a brief discussion of Camus’s angle on tragedy may be valuable. Camus tells us that the moment Sisyphus becomes aware of his fate, his fate becomes tragic. He also alludes to Oedipus, who becomes a tragic figure only when he becomes aware that he has killed his father and married his mother. He also remarks that both Sisyphus and Oedipus are happy. Tragedy, Camus seems to be suggesting, is not pessimistic. On the contrary, it represents the greatest triumph we are capable of as human beings. So as long as Sisyphus and Oedipus continue to hope and to deceive themselves, they are not heroic. With tragic…