Comparison/Contrast of Meursault and Oedipus Title: Same Differences

Essay by AzAzn264College, Undergraduate January 2005

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The Stranger and Oedipus the King are two literary works that were written approximately thousand years apart by different authors living in different time periods. The Stranger was written by Albert Camus who lived in post world war France. Oedipus was written Sophocles who lived in ancient Greek: although they were written by different authors of different background, time, and location. One could nevertheless find similar traits among the two main characters Oedipus and Meursault in the two works.

Like Oedipus, Meursault is a tragic hero. Unlike Oedipus, who has the tragic flaw of his own destiny, Meursault's tragic flaw was his own humanity; his own sense of honesty and commitment to his very normal ways were used against him to take him down.

In The Stranger, Meursault, the central character in the novel, is a young Frenchman, who commits murder and contemplates life while on trial.

A detached, observant, and indifferent man, Meursault is constantly under scrutiny by society surrounding him.

Unlike Meursault in The Stranger, Oedipus by Sophocles portrays the main character as a tragic hero. The ruler of Thebes, he was destined to sleep with his mother and kill his father. Knowing this fate, his parents abandon him, and he was raised by a different family. However, Oedipus had no knowledge of this, and after hearing of his fate he left his parents in order not to hurt them. After many years, he discovers that he has done exactly what his fate had predicted, as he has found and married his mother by chances, and killed his father on the road without knowing who he was.

In The Stranger, Meursault is not accused and sentenced for killing the Arab, but for not loving his mother. His trial is most definitely nonsensical; to...