The Stranger Part 2, Chapter 4: Summary and Analysis
by Albert Camus

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Part 2, Chapter 4: Summary and Analysis

Part II, Chapter 4 Summary

Meursault's lawyer and the prosecutor both make their closing arguments. Meursault notes that, at heart, the two speeches are the same: both claim that he's guilty, but one offers an explanation and the other doesn't. The prosecutor argues that Meursault's actions were premeditated and that all of his actions are indicative of a criminal mind. He then says that Meursault is a soulless monster who has never expressed remorse for his crimes. He even suggests that, because of his supposed moral culpability in his mother's death, Meursault is spiritually guilty of the crime to be tried in the court the next day (a parricide).

Astonished, Meursault stands up to say he never intended to kill the Arab man. He did it "because of the sun," meaning the heat and light that has been oppressing him throughout the novel.

Meursault's lawyer asks for a few hours to prepare his closing remarks. That afternoon, they return to the courtroom to hear the lawyer's argument. He speaks in the first person, assuming the role of Meursault as he says, "It is true I killed a man." This is a rhetorical strategy that all defense lawyers use, according to one of the guards. Meursault finds his lawyer's closing remarks less skillful than the prosecutor's. He hears the sound of an ice cream truck and remembers the life he has lost.

Finally, the jury leaves the courtroom to deliberate. It only taken them forty-five minutes to deliver a verdict of "guilty." The judge then sentences Meursault to death by guillotine. Meursault is given the opportunity to say something, but doesn't.

Part II, Chapter 4 Analysis


During his closing statement, the prosecutor argues that Meursault is also guilty of the parricide (or murder of a father) to be tried that following day. Though the prosecutor clearly thinks this to be a logical statement, given his speech, it is an obvious example of hyperbole, because Meursault is in no way culpable for that murder, morally or legally.


Camus has used repetition throughout the last several chapters to both clarify and warp the facts of...

(The entire section is 526 words.)