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Quotes

Quote #1

After a short silence, he stood up and told me that he wanted to help me, that I interested him, and that, with God’s help, he would do something for me. (2.1.9)

The magistrate judge is interested in saving Meursault – in the name of God.

Quote #2

Suddenly he stood up, strode over to a far corner of his office, and pulled out a drawer on a file cabinet. He took out a silver crucifix which he brandished as he came toward me. And in a completely different, almost cracked voice, he shouted, "Do you know what this is?" I said, "Yes, of course." Speaking very quickly and passionately, he told me that he believed in God, that it was his conviction that no man was so guilty that God did not forgive him, but in order for that to happen a man must repent and in so doing become like a child whose heart is open and ready to embrace all. […] He was waving his crucifix almost directly over my head. (2.1.10)

Meursault’s description reveals that the magistrate – though he tries to be threatening – comes off as ridiculous. If he’s "waving his crucifix almost directly over [Meursault’s] head," it looks like he’s brandishing it as a weapon. This is, of course, absurd.

Quote #3

[…] drawing himself up to his full height and ask[ed] 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. This is why he gets so upset when Meursault denounces it – he’s not concerned about Meursault, but he’s nervous that his own faith is being attacked.

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