The Stranger and The Odessey: Mersault and Sisyphus


Stranger and The Odessey: Mersault and Sisyphus

Sisyphus was given a punishment by the
gods, to push a rock up a hill, only to have it fall down on him again.

Mersault is a person accused of murder who has spent over a year in jail.

What both these characters have come to realize is that they are forced
to live in these situations created by the gods, therefore they might as
well enjoy or get used to them.

Mersault is forced to live in a cell, without
his cigarettes, and with limited visitation rights. When this happens,

Mersault recalls what his mother told him. She said, "One gets used to
everything." When Mersault realizes he is not going to get out of jail,
he becomes indifferent, just like he always does, and accepts his situation,
searching for any positive aspects to his incarceration. He defies punishment
by accepting his situation and enjoying himself in jail. Therefore, the
whole point of Mersault going to jail is obliterated. When Mersault is
condemned to death, he does not act surprised, although he wishes he did
not have to die. After a while he also accepts that. It does not matter
to him that he is dying, so long as he is dying for a purpose.

Sisyphus is damned for eternity to roll
a rock up a hill. If he were to view his fate decreed upon him as punishment,
for the rest of forever, then he would only sicken an already terminally
ill situation (speaking metaphorically of course). Sisyphus starts to find
meaning in his work, starts to enjoy his work, almost to take pride in
his work, like a true laborer.

Mersault is like Sysiphus, in many ways.

The only real notable difference is that Sisyphus has been punished by
the gods, whereas Mersault does not believe in god. Mersault is indifferent
to his situation, as is Sisyphus, as apparent from Camus’ description.

Mersault and Sisyphus both expressed a love for life (Mersault’s heart
jumped at the idea of being pardoned, Sisyphus is being \'punished\' due
to his desire to stay in the real world). And most importantly, Mersault
and Sisyphus both defy their detractors. They overcome their rulers. Mersault
does not do it to prove anything to anybody. He just does it because it
would be pointless to act any other way. With Sisyphus he can hold his
head higher than the gods now, his work has ceased to be punishment, the
gods have lost, he has won.

For Mersault and Sisyphus to overcome their
struggles, they had to be placed in one. Their background for reaching
their struggle is what makes them unique. Recalling such people with different
philosophies, like the Denver Nuggets most explosive player Mahmoud-Abdul

Rauf, who believes in not standing up for something he does not believe
in, he has shown that by standing up for a different philosophy than most
people believe in can lead to rejection and tragedy. What was special about

Mersault was where his priorities lay, which made him think different from
everybody else, therefore enabling the world to brand him. Mersault is
the anti-Christ because he smoked and drank coffee at his mother’s funeral.

Sisyphus was not regarded by a society as a vile person, but he was not
accepted, he did not have interaction with them. These odd situations placed
them both in struggles for their un-redeemable acts.

Mersault converses with the warden to discover
that "prison deprives one of freedom." He understands that incarceration
is punishment, just as Sisyphus did. They both move on to view their positions
from a different perspective. Sisyphus moves from his position of sadness,
to a position of happiness, mainly, in my view, to defy the gods, therefore
it is not true happiness just defiance. He "...obeys fate without knowing
it, as Oedipus did. Similarly Mersault accepts his imprisonment with the
same kind of indifference that he takes everything else. Mersault, in fact,
makes his own freedom by hanging on to his memories, he overcomes imprisonment,
because he really is not imprisoned anymore.

Mersault can be considered a real world
interpretation of Sisyphus, only a lot different and emotionless. Mersault
has never really expressed a desire for anything, whereas Sisyphus’ biggest
desire was that to escape his bounds of human mortality and became an immortal

Both the punishments are what would be
considered just in our society’s thinking, although viewing the individuals
both the verdicts seem harsh and horrid. Overall, both these individuals
accomplish a necessary goal that defies pressures put upon them, and that
is their greatness.