Literature Essay

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The Myth of Sisyphus is a philosophical essay by Albert Camus. It comprises about 120 pages and was published originally in 1942 in French as Le Mythe de Sisyphe; the English translation by Justin O'Brien followed in 1955. In the essay, Camus introduces his philosophy of the absurd: man's futile search for meaning, unity and clarity in the face of an unintelligible world devoid ofGod and eternal truths or values. Does the realization of the absurd require suicide? Camus answers: "No. It requires revolt." He then outlines several approaches to the absurd life. The final chapter compares the absurdity of man's life with the situation of Sisyphus, a figure of Greek mythology who was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again. The essay concludes, "The struggle itself...is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy." Chapter 1: An Absurd Reasoning Camus undertakes to answer what he considers to be the only question of philosophy that matters: Does the realization of the meaninglessness and absurdity of life necessarily require suicide? He begins by describing the absurd condition: much of our life is built on the hope for tomorrow yet tomorrow brings us closer to death and is the ultimate enemy; people live as if they didn't know about the certainty of death; once stripped of its common romanticisms, the world is a foreign, strange and inhuman place; true knowledge is impossible and rationality and science cannot explain the world: their stories ultimately end in meaningless abstractions, in metaphors. "From the moment absurdity is recognized, it becomes a passion, the most harrowing of all." It is not the world that is absurd, nor human thought: the absurd arises when the human need to understand meets the unreasonableness of the world, when "my appetite for the

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