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A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF ALBERT CAMUS EXISTENTIAL PREDICAMENT

 

ABSTRACT

As existent being, man identifies with the world through his thoughts and perceptions. He is driven to seek meaning by the very complexities and contradictions of existence. The sense of lack of meaning or purpose is very apparent in twentieth century literature, philosophy and art. The thesis poses a critical question whether life is worth living or should be voluntarily terminated. Being brought face to face with the absurd world, a person longs for the answers that will clarify his position and purpose in this universe, but being unable to find satisfactory explanations he/she succumbs to despair. The futile existence, it seems, drives a person to the brink of despair and makes him to contemplate suicide out of sheer despondency and hopelessness.

Existentialism is essentially associated with the condition of man, his act of living, his state of being free and the directions he takes to use his freedom in reciprocation to his wider experiences and enormous challenges he encounters in the universe that is drastically undergoing changes. The main philosophical ideal of existentialism is to emphasize that ‘existence precedes essence.’ It, also, stresses that each human being is thrown into the world in which pain, frustration, sickness, contempt, malaise and death predominantly exist. This problem has been highlighted in Albert Camus’s The Stranger, The Plague and The Fall, the novels chosen for the study. Through the analysis of the major characters, the study aims to disclose how anxiety, in general, occupies a major place in the existential spheres of life in the twentieth century.

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