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.
Despite my willingness to understand, I just couldn’t accept such arrogant certainty. Because, after all, there really was something ridiculously out of proportion between the verdict such certainty was based on and the imperturbable march of events from the moment the verdict was announced. The fact that the sentence had been read at eight o’clock at night and not at five o’clock, the fact that it could have been an entirely different one, the fact that it had been decided by men who change their underwear […] all of it seemed to detract from the seriousness of the decision. (2.5.2)
The uncertainty surrounding Meursault’s death sentence disturbs him as an absurdist. Because the ultimate sentence is meaningless, the obsession over it is ridiculous.
"Then God can help you," he said. "Every man I have known in your position has turned to Him." I acknowledged that that was their right. It also meant that they must have had the time for it. As for me, I didn’t want anybody’s help, and I just didn’t have the time to interest myself in what didn’t interest me. (2.5.14)
Uninterested in relying on any external authority or source for meaning, Meursault lays bare his atheism for the chaplain to see.
The chaplain knew the game well too, I could tell right away: his gaze never faltered. And his voice didn't falter, either, when he said, "Have you no hope at all? And do you really live with the thought that when you die, you die, and nothing remains?" "Yes," I said. (2.5.15)
Meursault is clearly the toughest nut the chaplain has come up against. Their interaction is so interesting to watch because it represents a larger struggle; that of religion against absurdist philosophy.