Existentialism In Albert Camus's The Stranger

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During the 20th century, existentialism—a philosophical theory where people have total control of their lives—became prevalent due to World War I and World War II. Philosophers such as Jean Paul Sartre or Søren Kierkegaard are considered the fathers of existentialism, writing their thoughts through famous literary works. A former existentialist, Friedrich Nietzsche founded nihilism which states that humans are all insignificant in the universe therefore making everyone 's lives meaningless. Although nihilism may seem true, Albert Camus--a French philosopher--creates a philosophical theory called Absurdism, a doctrine that states that people should accept the universe as absurd and try to create meaning in their lives. In his famous literary work The Stranger, Camus incorporates and portrays absurdism through Meursault—an Algerian absurdist. The philosophical theory of absurdism aids Meursault in The Stranger to grow as a character and develop meaning in his absurd life, specifically Meursault’s decision to shoot the Arab and the relationship he has with his mother. After Meursault’s realization that life is absurd due to the inevitability of death, he decides to shoot the Arab, to create meaning in his life. When Meursault was introduced in The Stranger, he thought like a nihilist and believed “all alike would be condemned to die one day…since it all came to the same thing in the end” (Camus 75). He views the world as meaningless because he repeats the same routine every
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