by Albert Camus
The Stranger Philosophical Viewpoints: The Absurd Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Matthew Ward's translation, published by Vintage International published in 1989.
I was listening, and I could hear that I was being judged intelligent. But I couldn’t understand how an ordinary man’s good qualities could become crushing accusations against a guilty man. At least that was what struck me […]. "Has he so much as expressed any remorse? Never, gentlemen. Not once during the preliminary hearings did this man show emotion over his heinous offense." (2.4.4)
Meursault realizes the paradoxical fact that he was being penalized for being intelligent and remorseless—not for the murder itself.
Fumbling a little with my words and realizing how ridiculous I sounded, I blurted out that it was because of the sun. People laughed. My lawyer threw up his hands […]. (2.4.6)
An element of nature and an absurdist, Meursault finds himself in quite a bind: he has no explanation (regardless of its truth) that society would find valid. But this doesn’t mean he doesn’t have an explanation that—in his mind, if nowhere else—is cogent.
But all the long speeches, all the interminable days and hours that people had spent talking about my soul, had left me with the impression of a colorless swirling river that was making me dizzy. (2.4.7)
Meursault is uninterested in any discussion as to the condition of his soul; to him, such matters are totally nonsensical.