Meursault as a Sociopath

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Meursault as a Sociopath From the time it was first published in 1942, Albert Camus's The Stranger aroused the interest of the public through the novel’s enigmatic protagonist, Meursault. Rather than behaving in accordance with social norms, Meursault chooses to live for the sensual pleasures of the present moment. Without any regard for right and wrong, he lives by his own standards based on absurdist values. From his lack of grief over his mother’s death to when he arbitrarily murders an Arab “because of the sun”, Meursault displays irrational behavior that creates a sense of uneasiness in society. Meursault’s actions closely resemble sociopathic behavior, leading some to believe that his is a threat to society. Although Meursault could be considered a sociopath due to some of the behaviors he exhibits, he does not present with the deceitful and charming characteristics of a standard sociopath. When analyzing the definition of a sociopath, Meursault displays several characteristics associated with sociopathic behavior. According to Depressive Psychological Disorders, sociopaths are generally defined as “people displaying anti social behavior which is mainly characterized by lack of empathy towards others that is coupled with display of abnormal moral conduct and inability to conform with the norms of society” (Sociopath 1). On several occasions, Meursault fails to accept the pre-established rules of society. At his mother’s funeral, he does not cry or express any sadness over her death, and is instead concerned with his own personal discomfort. In his relationship with Marie, he shows that he does not value the concept of love. This displays his anti-social tendencies and inability to make connections with other people. One of the major diagnostic criteria for a sociopath is “lack of remorse, guilt, or empathy” (1). Meursault does not feel
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