Sisyphus was given a punishment by the gods, to push a rock up ahill, only to have it fall down on him again. Mersault is a personaccused of murder who has spent over a year in jail. What both thesecharacters have come to realize is that they are forced to live in thesesituations created by the gods, therefore they might as well enjoy orget used to them.
Mersault is forced to live in a cell, without his cigarettes,and with limited visitation rights. When this happens, Mersault recallswhat his mother told him. She said, One gets used to everything. WhenMersault realizes he is not going to get out of jail, he becomesindifferent, just like he always does, and accepts his situation,searching for any positive aspects to his incarceration. He defiespunishment by accepting his situation and enjoying himself in jail.Therefore, the whole point of Mersault going to jail is obliterated.
When Mersault is condemned to death, he does not act surprised, althoughhe wishes he did not have to die. After a while he also accepts that. Itdoes not matter to him that he is dying, so long as he is dying for apurpose. Sisyphus is damned for eternity to roll a rock up a hill.
If hewere to view his fate decreed upon him as punishment, for the rest offorever, then he would only sicken an already terminally ill situation(speaking metaphorically of course). Sisyphus starts to find meaning inhis work, starts to enjoy his work, almost to take pride in his work,like a true laborer. Mersault is like Sysiphus, in many ways. The only real notabledifference is that Sisyphus has been punished by the gods, whereasMersault does not believe in god. Mersault is indifferent to hissituation, as is Sisyphus, as apparent from Camus description. Mersaultand Sisyphus both expressed a love for life (Mersaults heart jumped atthe idea of being pardoned, Sisyphus is being punished due to hisdesire to stay in the real world). And most importantly, Mersault andSisyphus both defy their detractors. They overcome their rulers.
Mersault does not do it to prove anything to anybody. He just does itbecause it would be pointless to act any other way. With Sisyphus he canhold his head higher than the gods now, his work has ceased to bepunishment, the gods have lost, he has won. For Mersault and Sisyphus to overcome their struggles, they hadto be placed in one. Their background for reaching their struggle iswhat makes them unique. Recalling such people with differentphilosophies, like the Denver Nuggets most explosive playerMahmoud-Abdul Rauf, who believes in not standing up for something hedoes not believe in, he has shown that by standing up for a differentphilosophy than most people believe in can lead to rejection andtragedy.
What was special about Mersault was where his priorities lay,which made him think different from everybody else, therefore enablingthe world to brand him. Mersault is the anti-Christ because he smokedand drank coffee at his mothers funeral. Sisyphus was not regarded by asociety as a vile person, but he was not accepted, he did not haveinteraction with them. These odd situations placed them both instruggles for their un-redeemable acts. Mersault converses with the warden to discover that prisondeprives one of freedom.
” He understands that incarceration ispunishment, just as Sisyphus did. They both move on to view theirpositions from a different perspective. Sisyphus moves from his positionof sadness, to a position of happiness, mainly, in my view, to defy thegods, therefore it is not true happiness just defiance. He …obeysfate without knowing it, as Oedipus did. Similarly Mersault accepts hisimprisonment with the same kind of indifference that he takes everythingelse. Mersault, in fact, makes his own freedom by hanging on to hismemories, he overcomes imprisonment, because he really is not imprisonedanymore.
Mersault can be considered a real world interpretation ofSisyphus, only a lot different and emotionless. Mersault has neverreally expressed a desire for anything, whereas