What are some rhetorical devices used in "The Myth of Sisyphus"?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Albert Camus' essay "The Myth of Sisyphus" uses allusion, analogy, ethical appeal (ethos), juxtaposition, and imagery:

Allusion: he obviously alludes to the Greek myth of Sisyphus, as well as Oedipus and Dostoevsky's Kirolv as other absurd heroes:

Then a tremendous remark rings out: "Despite so many ordeals, my advanced age and the nobility of my soul make me conclude that all is well." Sophocles' Edipus, like Dostoevsky's Kirilov, thus gives the recipe for the absurd victory. Ancient wisdom confirms modern heroism.

Analogy: he compares Sisyphus to the absurd hero, the rock to work, and the gods to deterministic external forces which limit freedom.

Ethos: he uses moral argument and counterargument to show how Sisyphus loves life, hates death, and scorns the gods, thereby getting victory over his fate and punishmnet.

Juxtaposition: he contrasts man vs. god, freedom vs. punishment, life vs. punishment, sun and water vs. Hades.  All of his juxtaposed imagery supports life over death and freedom over punishment.

Imagery: he uses natural, visual imagery to create an emotional response for the reader: "mountain," "sun," "water"--all of which affirm life on earth instead of death and suffering.