The Absurd Life Essay Research Paper Sisyphus

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The Absurd Life Essay, Research Paper Sisyphus is the absurd hero. This man, sentenced to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain and then watching its descent, is the essence of the absurd hero according to Camus. In retelling the Myth of Sisyphus, Camus is able to create an extremely powerful image with imaginative force, which sums up in an emotional sense the body of the discussion. We are told that Sisyphus is the absurd hero “as much through his passions as through his torture. His scorn of the gods, his hatred of death, and his passion for life won him that unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing.? (p.120). Sisyphus is conscious of his dilemma, and in that lays his tragedy. For if, during the moments of

descent, he nourished the hope that he would yet succeed, then his labor would lose its torment. Nevertheless, Sisyphus is clearly conscious of the extent of his misery. It is this logical recognition of his destiny that transforms his torment into his victory. It has to be a victory for as Camus says: ?I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one’s burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus

happy.? (p.123). Sisyphus’ life and torment are turned into victory by concentrating on his freedom, his refusal to hope, and his knowledge of the absurdity of his situation. It matters little for what reason he continues to struggle so long as he continues on this absurd path and not venture on to the path of dreaming or wishing. The ideas behind the development of the absurd hero are present in the first three essays of the book. In these essays, Camus faces the problem of suicide. In his typically shocking, unnerving manner he opens with the bold statement that: ?There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.? (p. 3). He goes on to discover if suicide is a legitimate answer to the human dilemma. Or to put it another way: Is life worth living now

that God is dead? Since Camus doesn?t believe in the Superior Being, he must find another way to describe the fate of man. We know only two things: ?This heart within me I can feel, and I judge that it exists. This world I can touch, and I likewise judge that it exists. There ends all my knowledge, and the rest is construction.? (p. 19) With these as the basic certainties of the human condition, Camus argues that there is no meaning to life. He disapproves of the many philosophers who “have played on words and pretended to believe that refusing to grant a meaning to life necessarily leads to declaring that it is not worth living.? (p.8) Life has no absolute meaning. In spite of the human’s irrational longing for unity, for absolutes, for a definite order and meaning to the

universe, no such meaning exists in the silent, indifferent universe. Between this yearning for meaning and eternal truth and the actual condition of the universe, there is a gap that can never be filled. The confrontation of the irrational, longing human heart and the indifferent universe brings about the notion of the absurd. ?The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.? (p.28) Yet: The absurd is not in man nor in the world, but in their presence together…it is the only bond uniting them. (p. 30) People must realize that the feeling of the absurd exists and can happen to them at any time. The absurd person must demand to live solely with what is known and to bring in nothing that is not certain. This means that