Camus and the Absurd

The name of Albert Camus is virtually synonymous with the theory of "The Absurd". Broadly speaking, "the absurd" is the relationship between man and the irrational, incongruous world. Man will always search for reason, yet the world will always resist analysis and his demand is therefore destined to be forever frustrated. It is the very dialectic between man's need for order and coherence, and the world's stubborn refusal to be coherent which constitutes the absurd. In this triangular relationship, man is essential therefore, for if he must object to the human condition for it to be rendered absurd. To search for coherence is somewhat futile for man will always be confronted with his own mortality and death. Man must therefore accept his condition, and resolve to live it as best he can, live in the present, live without hope and therefore without illusion. To live in hope for a future and better life is to reject the life we have now which in Camus' eyes is the ultimate sin. The religious man is one who has resigned himself to the absurdity of his existence, seeking comfort in an entirely untenable belief metaphysically. Dr Rieux therefore incarnates Camus' view of heroism for it takes considerable courage to live through the plague without any from of spiritual comfort. The Plague is the creative expression of the only position worthy of man, that is of revolt for it shows how it is possible to acknowledge the absurdity of life with no illusion or evasion and yet not surrender to it.

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