The Stranger

The Stranger

What is the significance of the meeting with the examining magistrate

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Meursault is taken to the magistrate again who seems cordial, at first asking him to go over the details of the murder again. He is bothered by the fact that Meursault hesitated between the first shot and the following four. Meursault does not know what reason to give and does not think it really matters. The magistrate explodes. He grabs a crucifix and shoves it in Meursault's face, asking him if he believes in God. He is infuriated to learn that Meursault does not. Finally, hoping that he will stop, Meursault agrees with him at which point the magistrate encourages him to say that he will trust in God to which Meursault disagrees. The magistrate comments that Meursault's is the most hardened soul of any criminal he has met. Meursault has a difficult time realizing that he is a criminal now. Meetings with the magistrate run smoother after the first meeting. Meursault is always accompanied by his lawyer and most of the time is left out of the conversation. He enjoys the parts he participates in and comments that the whole process seemed very natural and he feels like "one of the family". He finds it strange to remember a time happier than the cordial moments with the magistrate.