I wanted to know if Mersault is a tragic hero, and, if yes, can you list me 2-3 points why?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

"Tragic hero" is not an appropriate term to use in existential literature.  It is a classic term, and many conditions must exist before it can be applied, the foremost being a character who "falls from a high place,"  which certainly can't be said of Meursalt.  This novel (The Stranger) is, like all the work by Albert Camus,  an example of fictionalizing the existential notion of "existence precedes essence." in other words, Camus is exploring the ramifications of seeing Man as designing himself by his actions, rather than following a divine design.  Mersault's actions, unfathomable by so-called "moral laws," define him, If the reader comes at the story with no pre-designed notion about "right-and-wrong"  At any rate, to call Mersault a "tragic" anything is to misunderstand Camus' motives for writing the book.

 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial