What can I say about the Courtroom in The Stranger by Albert Camus?

I'm writing an essay and I want to describe how the courtroom in The Stranger is utilized to support Albert Camus, existentialists, or Absurdist beliefs. I'd also like to know the flaws in the court system in the novel.

1 Answer

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    If you were studying the book in the original French version as I did, I would say that 'le systeme judiciaire ast une machine a broyer'. To translate, the judicial system is like a cider press, a juice extractor that squeezes all a person's resources out and leaves him dry and dissatisfied.

    Well, to answer your question simply teh whole concept ot justice is a complete farce in the book. As such there is no real justice in the book. The trial of Meursault is a parody of what it ought to have been. Firstly, it seems to us readers that Meursault is tried not for the murder of the Arab but for the apparently insensitive, heartless and unemotional way in which he buries his mother. He is accused of being 'un monstre en moral'(an immoral person wo has no heart). Also , as the trial progresses, we find, as does Meursault, that is is a trila out of him, in which he has no part. He feels sleepy during the trial. To him, it is simple enough that he has killed the Arab, although he takes time to realise this, and he does not understand why they waste so much time on it.

    The Courtroom is used as a powerful symbol by Camus. In the courtroom drama that comprises the second half of The Stranger, the court symbolizes society as a whole. The law functions as the will of the people, and the jury sits in judgment on behalf of the entire community. In The Stranger, Camus strengthens this court-as-society symbolism by having nearly every one of the minor characters from the first half of the novel reappear as a witness in the courtroom. Also, the court’s attempts to construct a logical explanation for Meursault’s crime symbolize humanity’s attempts to find rational explanations for the irrational events of the universe. These attempts, which Camus believed futile, exemplify the absurdity Camus outlined in his philosophy.

    Meursault has no discernable reason for his actions, such as his decision to marry Marie and his decision to kill the Arab.

    Society nonetheless attempts to fabricate or impose rational explanations for Meursault’s irrational actions. The idea that things sometimes happen for no reason, and that events sometimes have no meaning is disruptive and threatening to society. The trial sequence in Part Two of the novel represents society’s attempt to manufacture rational order. The prosecutor and Meursault’s lawyer both offer explanations for Meursault’s crime that are based on logic, reason, and the concept of cause and effect. Yet these explanations have no basis in fact and serve only as attempts to defuse the frightening idea that the universe is irrational. The entire trial is therefore an example of absurdity—an instance of humankind’s futile attempt to impose rationality on an irrational universe.

    Hope this helps!

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