The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus

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Display the image of Sisyphus as the absurd hero as discussed in Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus

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The mythical figure of Sisyphus has long been employed as a metaphor for futility.  Condemned by the gods to continuously push a large boulder up a steep mountain only to have it roll back down to the bottom each time he reaches the peak, the phrase “Sisyphean task” is synonymous with the conduct of hopeless activities.  Albert Camus, a product of the environment in which he matured – the rise of Nazi Germany, the occupation of his native France (although he spent much of his childhood in French-occupied Algeria), and the evolution of the French Resistance – was struck by the absurdity of the world in which he lived.  The brutality and repression characteristic of German occupation colored his perception of humanity, and was manifested in his depictions of “reality,” as in perhaps his most respected work, The Stranger.  While that well-known work is, of course, a novel, The Myth of Sisyphus is a work of nonfiction in which Camus contemplates the theme of absurdity in life that permeates his works of fiction.  While Camus can hardly be considered a raving optimist, however, The Myth of Sisyphus is a direct rejection of the sense of futility that undergirds the myth of Sisyphus.  Camus is, in effect, playing with words to refute the notion that suicide is a legitimate response to perceptions of futility.  “The Myth” in the title is intended to emphasize the inappropriateness of conclusions that the end of life is a legitimate response to the seemingly intractable difficulties that arise during the course of life.  As he states in the preface to this volume:

“The fundamental subject of “The Myth of...

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