Denial and Behavior in the Works of Camus and Jean-Paul Satre

\               Denial and Criminal and Social Behavior in the Works of
                                  Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre.

      The attitude of people towards crimes they are guilty of is often a main topic of philosophical works. Many writers and philosophers, including Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, use human response to a violation of the rules of society as proof of their opinion on human nature. For example in No Exit, by Jean-Paul Sartre, the first instinct of the characters is to deny their wrongdoings although they have all been condemned to hell. The characters’ initial denial of having murdered and driven others to suicide shows their desire for separation from their past misdeeds. In The Stranger, by Albert Camus, the narrator hides his emotions both from the other characters and from the reader, only describing himself in terms of his immediate environment. The fact that Meursault’s indifference is more outrageous to society than his murder of another human being shows not only the society’s indifference towards human life but also its desire for proper thought and behavior. The writings of Sartre and Camus highlight the detachment of characters both from indifferent societies and major events. Also, many characters have a blasé attitude towards life, and feel that it is completely meaningless and that death is inevitable. While characters in the writings of Sartre and Camus go to great lengths to avoid thinking about their impending demises, they are happier when they accept their fates and take their lives into their own hands.
      Characters often clash with societal norms in works by Camus and Sartre. All the characters in No Exit and many of the characters in The Stranger have broken rules of society. This is apparent in the scene with the magistrate in The Stranger, when the magistrate waves a silver crucifix in Meursault’s face upon learning that Meursault is an atheist. In the eyes of the magistrate, Meursault is...