The Myth of Sisyphus

Placing Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus in the Philosophical Structure of Existentialism

The Myth of Sisyphus is one of the profound philosophical texts written in the 20th century. The book was originally published in French as Le Mythe de Sisyphe in 1942. Albert Camus’ philosophy of absurdity is most apparent in Le Etranger (The Stranger). Camus’ third novel La Chute (The Fall) is a passionate denunciation of all-or–nothing approach to human problems which Camus describes in The Myth of Sisyphus as a form of consciousness of absurdity. Martin Esslin says, “In one of the most seminal heart-searching of our time, The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus tried to diagnose the human situation in a world of shattered beliefs.”

The symbolic marriage of natural and social evils, of metaphysical problems, creates a certain element of ambiguity in Camus’ novels. Both nature and society as seen by Camus are evil; both certainly are powerful; and both exact the same sort of sinister idolatry from their victims. It is against this spiritual sanctification of material force and the ignorance and illusions on which it thrives, that Camus speaks.

Camus’ sense of absurdity of human existence and his ethics are founded on an identical act of revolt against the existing structure of the universe. For the self-styled agnostic as he was, the one...

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