In Albert Camus's The Stranger, what is Meursault actually on trial for, his actions or his eccentric character?

Expert Answers info

Dolly Doyle eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseLibrarian


calendarEducator since 2018

write995 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

In short, it is both. Meursault has shot a man in cold blood for no significant reason at all. This is why he is brought to trial. However, as the trial progresses and the evidence is brought out, the judge and jury become more perplexed by Meursault's strangeness in general. Most murders are committed for reasons, whether it be hatred or jealousy, money or some other form of gain, yet Meursault killed the Arab because the sun was in his eyes. One might think this is enough reason to convict Meursault or at least conclude he is insane.

The prosecutor starts attacking Meursault for his indifference towards his mother's death, an event which has nothing to do with the murder but helps to turn everyone in the courtroom against Meursault. The others view Meursault as cold, even monstrous and evil, because he went to the movies with his girlfriend so shortly after his mother's funeral. His antipathy towards social obligations seems to shock them all more than an act of violence.

While the...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 873 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write9,887 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Jason Lulos eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write3,301 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Science

check Approved by eNotes Editorial