Does Daru deserve the treatment he is promised at the end of the story?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Camus' short story "The Guest," suggests that Daru will receive the following treatment in the end:

A little later standing before the window of the classroom the school master was watching the clear light bathing the whole surface of the plateau but he hardly saw it. Behind him on the blackboard among the winding French rivers sprawled the clumsily chalked-up words he had just read. "You handed over our brother. You will pay for this." Daru looked at the sky, the plateau and beyond the invisible lands stretching all the way to the sea. In this vast landscape he had loved so much, he was alone.

Camus suggests that the guest's Arab friends and family will seek revenge against Daru for sending him to his death.  Ironically, Daru thought he freed the guest by leaving his at the fork in the road; Daru did not expect the guest to walk toward the police station and his death.

So the answer, of course, is "yes."  Daru chooses to be punished for not making a decision regarding his prisoner.  He fails to choose the path of freedom himself and for his guest; he, therefore, chooses death, both for his guest and himself.

Camus says that most people, when given freedom, choose death instead of life.  The guest was afraid of joining the nomads and living a life of perfervid freedom, so he walked toward execution.  Daru implicitly let the guest choose freedom, but Daru greatly underestimated the fear of freedom that he faced.

Daru makes an equally bad choice toward death by not explicitly helping his guest toward freedom and by not choosing sides in the Arab vs. European civil war.  Camus says that not making a choice is the same as choosing death.