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.
At first, I didn’t take him seriously. I was led into a curtained room; there was a single lamp on his desk which was shining on a chair where he had me sit while he remained standing in the shadows. I had read descriptions of scenes like this in books and it all seemed like a game to me. (2.1.2)
Meursault can’t take the investigation seriously; he feels that he has done nothing wrong. It proves difficult for him to view himself as a criminal, because he truly believes in the simplicity of his case—he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and it was all a matter of absurd [bad] luck.
On my way out, I was even going to shake his [the policeman's] hand, but just in time, I remembered that I had killed a man." (2.1.2)
Meursault feels little or no personal remorse for having killed the Arab; however, he presently knows that he has done something wrong according to society’s standards. Again, unable to feel emotion himself, he categorizes it scientifically and objectively.
[…] drawing himself up to his full height and asking me if I believed in God. I said no. He sat down indignantly. He said it was impossible; all men believed in God, even those who turn their backs on him. That was his belief, and if he were ever to doubt it, his life would become meaningless. "Do you want my life to be meaningless?" He shouted. As far as I could see, it didn’t have anything to do with me, and I told him so. But from across the table he had already thrust the crucifix in my face and was screaming irrationally, "I am a Christian. I ask Him to forgive you your sins. How can you not believe that He suffered for you?" (2.1.11)
The magistrate places the meaning of his existence on his faith in God. Meursault rejects that proposition that the rest of society seems so bent on accepting, and dismisses it instead as irrational.