The Stranger By Albert Camus: Why Meursault Violates The Basic Principles And Morals

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

In the novel The Stranger, by Albert Camus the main character Meursault makes some questionable decisions. Because his lack of reasoning for his odd decisions some people argue that Meursault was portrayed to be “ a monster, a man without morals”. Morality is a system of values and principles in which we use to distinguish what kind of behavior is right and wrong. A man without morals would mean that he does not value anything nor does he follow any principles which allows him to make a judgement without considering what kind of behavior is considered right and wrong. Does Meursault make these decisions to purposely violate the moral agreement or does he not know what is right and wrong?

Meursault is an interesting character, he doesn’t always act the way people normally do. For example, in the beginning of the novel meursault’s mother had died and he seemed completely unbothered by the mournful event. It almost seems as if meursault is psychologically separated from the world. Society sees him as a monster or a outsider because he isn’t afraid to express his lack of emotions and feelings toward certain subjects and challenges the social norms of the society. Based of societal moral values we should value our mother and father, and when such a catastrophic event we should having some kind of sorrow or feelings toward them. Children should respect their parents and their elders and it can be considered a sign of disrespect to them if you dont not pay your dues. Meursault is much more concerned about the people in the church and things of that nature rather than his mother who passed away, he refuses to see his mother and give her the attention and respect she deserves. It’s seems to everyone else that he is violating the basic principles of life because he doesn’t value or appreciate his mother.

Meursault is a honest person and his lack of understanding of himself allows him to make strange assumptions and decisions about the world. Meursault is also incapable of emotional attachment which makes it hard to make and maintain friendships. Meursault has very few friends and is currently having trouble considering others feeling and emotions. For example, Meursault has a long time friend Raymond. There relationship is quite interesting. They claim to be friends and raymonds even calls Meursault his “pal” and he hardly even knows anything about meursault as a person. This doesn’t seem to bother meursault because relationships doesn’t really matter to him. Meursault doesn’t value friendship and the benefits they have. Raymond is having a somewhat complicated relationship and is on the verge of losing his girlfriend and he ask Meursault if he will be willing to write a letter to his girlfriend to essentially lure he back to him. Meursault does have prior knowledge about raymond’s abusive habits but yet agrees to do raymond the favor. Meursault then goes to say that he is going to raymond the favor because he doesn’t see a reason not to. Meursault completely unaware of the harm he is causing, simply because he doesn’t understand what consequences his actions are causing. He has a hard time distinguishing what kind of behavior is right and wrong.

Toward the end of the novel at this point Meursault has come to realize that the world is no better than he is by that I mean, he doesn’t care what happens and he believes that the world doesn’t ethier. Meursault’s fails to realize that his actions come with consequences. This time meursault actions ultimately will cost him his life. Meursault murdered a arab man at the beach because the sun was out and irritating and the man had been shining the sunlight in his eyes with a knife. Meursault didn’t think twice when he pulled out the gun and shot the man not once but multiple times. Meursault had no reason to kill the arab man nor did he feel any remorse. Meursault violates one of the basic principles, being harm. The principle of harm states that one can do whatever he wants as long as he does not cause harm to another person, and if so society can take actions to prevent this harm.

I believe that Meursault is not purposely violating the basic principles and ignoring his morals rather he simply does not know what morals and principles are and he can’t distinguish what is right and wrong. Since meursault lacks this understanding he acts strictly upon his initial intuition. Meursault does not value anything he doesn’t follow any principles. I believe that he is amoral meaning lack of moral sense a person who is unconcerned with what’s right and wrong. I believe that meursault is not immoral which would imply that meursault knew what was right and wrong and purposely chose to do the wrong thing but this isn’t the case. 


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