The Stranger

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Entertainment 11th Grade

There is a Latin phrase “Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur,” which translates to “The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived” (Sebastian). These words resonate particularly well when applied to Albert Camus’ The Stranger. To conform to and become insiders in society, the characters in The Stranger deceive themselves into believing that the world is explicable by blindly accepting established social constructs. In doing so, they delude themselves into rationalizing Meursault’s motivations for his murder and accepting Meursault’s execution by replacing the pursuit of justice with the spectacle of entertainment. Those in the minority, including Meursault, are rejected by society because they refuse to yield to social constructs. Camus uses Meursault’s trial and execution as symbols of society’s willingness to deceive itself, choosing entertainment over truth. Camus warns the reader that this subversion distracts us into feeling more comfortable with inexplicable events of the world by allowing us to ignore the absurdity of our customs and conventions.
Using the trial as a symbol of self-deception in society, Camus shows that the legal system is a flawed coping mechanism that insiders use to rationalize actions in an...

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