What do Daru's actions in "The Guest" suggest about his beliefs or philosophy?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There is something of the biographical in "The Guest" as Albert Camus who, like his character Daru was born in Algeria, had the experience of being rejected by both the French and Algerian sides in 1955 when he offered to mediate with the separatists on behalf of France. Perhaps, then, Camus decided that man is alienated and cannot find meaning in a meaningless and contradictory world. Certainly, this belief is exemplified in the character of Daru, a French Algerian schoolmaster.

With Daru, there is an ambivalence of action because he does not perceive a clear choice between right and wrong. A man of honor himself, he has a respect for the moral codes of people. When he asks the Arab why he killed his cousin, the Arab simply replies, "He ran away. I ran after him." Since this conduct violates the Arabic moral code, the prisoner felt justified in his actions. Daru feels that to judge the Arab by European codes of morality, then, is wrong. But, on the other hand, Daru has respect for the colonial law, so he leaves the choice to the Arab. These thoughts occupy Daru, 

That man's stupid crime revolted him, but to hand him over was contrary to honor; just thinking of it made him boil with humiliation.

In the end, Daru feels tormented by the illusion of free choice. "In this vast landscape he had loved so much, he was alone." There is an indifference to man's plight in nature, and in his aloneness, man's existence is absurd and really without any clear order or meaning.

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